Exploring the Illinois Valley: by Laura Mancuso

Roger Brandt Gave a tour of the remodeled Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside Jan. 1, 2024.
(Courtesy photo for the Illinois Valley News)

One of my favorite places to explore every season of the year is the Rough and Ready Botanical Wayside and then hiking further on to Seats Dam

Jaxon Schatza enjoys the waterfall from Parker Creek running into Rough and Ready Creek near Seats Dam Sunday Dec. 31.
(Photo by Laura Mancuso, Illinois Valley News)

On Sunday, Dec. 31, I took my son Jaxon there along with the pups, Lucy and I.V., to explore the new kiosk features, artistic benches and expanded trail. This is a flat, easy hike. To get to the Botanical Wayside travel south on Highway 199 for 4.5 miles. Parking for the Wayside is located on the north side of the highway, with a covered picnic table and a kiosk visible from the road.In the spring, I like to hike there to look at the many wildflowers that bloom, but in the winter I like to view the snow on the surrounding mountaintops and enjoy the rushing water that can be found at the Rough and Ready Creek. Walking on the wheelchair accessible rock trail, I find it is fun to look at all the benches that have animals carved into them and try to decide which is my favorite. I think it is the owl bench, but I keep changing my mind. If you come to the end of the rock trail and want to walk further on to Seats Dam here are the directions. Go straight at the first 3-way road junction, next you will come to the foot bridge and cross it and then you will veer left. Stay on this road, you will start to hear the rushing water and will run into Seats Dam on your left. Once you find Seats Dam be sure to walk up the hill on the right to look at the waterfall from Parker Creek running into Rough and Ready Creek. HIking tip of the month: Anytime you go exploring be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.