Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-27-2018

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


Matthiessen State Park offers differing perspectives of the geology of the area, from the stunning views of bluffs and floodplain of the Vermilion River to the deep, winding canyons of the park’s Dells Area. A numerical system was used to rank the severity of hazards along the various park trails similar to the work of Ross, who pioneered the ranking of trails by hazard, specifically for Starved Rock State Park. Ross showed that ranking trails by hazard may be more useful for visitors than simply ranking trails by degree of difficulty. Ranking of trails for Matthiessen State Park proved somewhat different from those of Ross, since hazards in the two parks are not exactly the same. The most hazardous trail is the Upper Dells, which is closely related to erosional surfaces. Steep cliffs and drop-offs are especially significant in the specific ranking concerns. It is hoped that such studies will be used to inform visitors of the hazards associated with each trail and enhance the safety of park visits.


Presented at the 2018 Geological Society of America North Central Section Meeting (15-17 April 2018)

Ranking Matthiessen State Park Trails by Hazard Rather Than Difficulty.pptx (9961 kB)
Poster that was presented at the 2018 Geological Society of America North Central Section Meeting.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.