Creve Coeur is a village just outside of Peoria that serves as a suburban commuter town. Located within an area neighboring on Peoria Lake and the Illinois River, it is surrounded by communities that host parks and other outdoor recreational attractions that are pawrfect for dogs and their humans. And should your fur-pup become ill or injured while you’re adventuring, rest assured that 5 veterinary hospitals are nearby in East Peoria and Peoria, ready to help!
On the western edge of Creve Coeur is the dog-friendly Nature Preserve that bears its name. The Creve Coeur Preserve contains 39 acres composed of forestland with deciduous trees, and also features a small prairie area with grasses, oats and wildflowers, among which small mammals make their homes. Many birds live or migrate through here as well, so be sure to bring your binoculars and look up! The preserve features a campground with both RV and primitive camping available from April through the end of October. Pups are welcome, but please remember to keep them leashed or enclosed in the campground. Pawrific!
Whatever the reason you and your fur-baby are in the Creve Coeur area, be sure to explore some of the outdoor attractions here. You’re sure to find something woofderful!
Marquette Heights is a small community that lies just south of Creve Coeur, with one of its borders following along the Illinois River and encompassing Pekin Lake, and it’s home to dog-friendly 300-acre Independence Park. This park is full of wildlife, including deer, coyote. beaver and more. It supports about 15 animal species and 80 species of birds, and Fido will have a grand time sniffing them out! Nine marked and unmarked multi-use trails totaling 12 miles branch out from 2 parking areas on Lasalle Boulevard, and intersect with each other to provide a self-customized hiking experience for you and your leashed fur-buddy. This community is also where you’ll find the Everett McKinley Dirksen Park, which is 400 acres of woodland and meadows. Dirksen features the 3-mile Running Deer Trail, through woods and prairie which will take you to an overlook with furtastic views of the Illinois River valley. Pawsome!
Bartonville is a village that lies on the western banks of the Illinois River, directly across from Creve Coeur. It’s where you’ll find the Clara A. Lauterbach Park, a quiet, grassy park strewn with trails and pawrfect for a walk with your pooch followed by a long, relaxing picnic. The trails are paved and easy to maneuver, and the park is dotted with lovely mature shade trees. Bartonville is also home to Alpha Park, an 18-acre gem with vast lawns through which meander paved walking paths. Playing fields and picnic shelters make this a family- and pup-friendly place! Mendenhall Park is located along the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway in Bartonville, and it’s where you and a leashed Fido will have the opportunity to view large waterfowl like herons and egrets, along with raptors like the migratory eagles that pass through twice a year. There’s lots to do in Bartonville!
East Peoria lies just east of Creve Coeur, and its city center is host to the Brady Bark Park. Accessed via Cole Street, this fenced, off-leash park is open during daylight hours all year. Divided into small and large dog areas, with double safety gates, the park features doggy water fountains in each section, plus waste bags and containers. The surface is grass, and there are benches for the comfort of the humans, even a fire hydrant for the fur-babies! And for overnight accommodations, outdoor-loving pups will love the Carl Spindler Campground on Main Street, next to the river. Offering 52 paved RV sites and 26 primitive sites, this is the place to stay! If you don’t have a camper or tent, they have cabins, too!
Cooper Park North in this East Peoria neighborhood sits on the shore of the Illinois River, and like its companion, Cooper Park South, it boasts expansive grassy play and picnic areas for outings with your leashed pooch. Try a walk on the 2-mile portion of the East Peoria Riverfront Greenway that passes through the park, or a stroll on the boardwalk where you’ll be treated to a view of Peoria’s skyline along with the sights and sounds of river fowl and the animals that make the river their homes. If you’re looking for a place to lay your heads for the night, head over to the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, whose rustic and cozy décor will pamper you and your pup.
For an easy jaunt with the fur-pup on a paved trail, look no further than the Pekin Park Bike Trail in nearby Pekin. This 4.3-mile trail is open to bikers, skaters, runners, hikers and their canine companions from its start at Allentown Road in this neighborhood, around the perimeter of Coal Miners’ Park, through Mineral Park and to the riverfront. In winter, bundle Fido up in his cozy coat and head out onto the trail for a run while you cross-country ski alongside. Picturesque, wooded Coal Miners’ Park has restrooms and a large parking lot, so you could join the trail there, too. Looking for some off-leash fun? Mineral Springs Park features the Happy Tails Dog Park with separate playgrounds for large and small dogs, plus pet watering stations! The picnic areas at Mineral Springs are pawrfect for a quick snack or a meal in the middle of your adventure! Furtastic!