Gebhard Woods State Park
Address: 401 Ottawa St., Morris IL 60450
Time from Chicago: 1 hour, 10 minutes (62 miles)
Camping at Gebhard Woods State Park
For budget-minded folks living in the Windy City, finding cheap campgrounds near Chicago can be a chore. One decent option is Gebhard Woods State Park, which offers nightly camping for just a few dollars. But it’s not a full-on nature experience. Read on for more…
Gebhard Woods can be found in the town of Morris, Illinois, a little more than an hour outside Chicago. The nightly rate is just $6 per tent, so it’s extremely affordable.
It’s not car camping here – you cannot pull directly into your site. Instead, you’ll have to hike about a half mile (5-10 minutes) into a grassy designated camping area. I like that – the walk keeps away the meek and keeps the site relatively uncrowded.
The camping area has grills, picnic tables and fire pits. The park has fishing ponds and streams throughout, as well as a hiking and biking trail. The problem is that hiking trail runs right past a sewage plant – really! We tried to hike and were overcome by the stench, and cut short the hike.
If you arrive after check-in time (which is only 3 pm on some days), you’ll need to pay your fee the next morning. That means a guy comes around to collect the camping fee at 8 am, rustling tents and waking everyone up in the process. Not cool at all. I guess you get what you pay for, sometimes.