Jake McCrary

Climbing at Pere Marquette State Park

Jenn and I started driving from Chicago to Pere Marquette early Saturday morning and arrived by about lunch time.

Pere Marquette State Park has a limestone cliff that has traditional and sport climbing routes. The cliff isn’t that all but there is a range of difficulties here.

We climbed Saturday afternoon and then made our way to the Pere Marquette State Park campground. There is a section here for RVs and an area for tents. There is a shower house that we were able to use.

We woke up Sunday and had a slow morning of coffee and breakfast. It felt very cold in the campgrounds and this slowed us down leaving for the climbing.

It was silly to wait as the cliff gets a fair amount of sunlight and it felt much warmer at the cliff.

We got in hours more of climbing before calling it quits for the day and heading into Grafton, IL and grabbing a snack and drink at a bar on the river. After refueling, we got back on the road and headed home to Chicago.

Overall, this was a pretty fun trip. The climbing area was not busy which, when you’re used to climbing on weekends in the Red River Gorge, was pretty refreshing. The routes are fairly short but it was still fun. Climbing on limestone is a nice change from the usual Midwestern sandstone.

Grafton, IL is a pretty interesting town that calls itself “The Key West of the Midwest.” There is definitely a party town vibe to it.