I visited Chestnut Mountain Resort for a complimentary stay as part of my research for this article. All opinions are my own. Enjoy some of all of these 9 summer activities the next time you visit.
If you’ve never been to the Galena, Illinois area, it’s just a quick trip west from Chicago just before the Iowa border. Chestnut Mountain Resort resides up the rolling hills from the charming town.
While many know it for winter activities, most notably skiing, they offer plenty to keep you occupied in warm weather, too. I had visited the resort years ago and wanted to ride the alpine slides. I didn’t have a chance then, but you know I took advantage this time around!
Chestnut Mountain Resort itself is a cute three story hotel. While the hotel rooms are somewhat dated, everything is clean and well maintained. I never spend much time in my hotel room anyway!
To keep the interest of guests, Chestnut Mountain Resort has added several summer activities since I last visited the area. I could easily spend two or three days exploring the area and enjoying the fun they have just at the resort.
Hungry? Choose from two great restaurants onsite. Only one restaurant was open during my stay because it was midweek during a slower time, we had plenty of food and choices. If you visit on weekends or during a more busy period, you have even more options.
9 Reasons to Visit Chestnut Mountain Resort in Summer
It’s incredibly affordable
Chestnut Mountain offers rooms for anywhere from two people in their standard king room up to 16 in their Family Suite Courtyard. It’s rare to find a hotel that can accommodate such a large group in a single room!
Rates range from $99 per night up to a maximum of $379 per night in peak season for the 16 person room. Each room includes wifi, a fridge (perfect for leftovers!), and a microwave.
Check out Trivia Tuesday
On Tuesday nights, Chestnut Mountain Resort recently introduced a new special. At 7:30pm, they play trivia.
It’s a unique brand of trivia, with musical clues playing while teams try to figure out the answers. Halftime includes 10 second song snippets for teams to identify titles and artists, along with other fun features along the way.
The third place team wins a $10 gift card to the resort, second place earns a $20 gift card, and first place wins a $30 gift card. Who doesn’t want the entertainment at no cost?
Best of all, on Tuesdays, the restaurant has a taco Tuesday special. For $5, you get 3 chicken or beef tacos. There are also $3 beer specials, all of which make trivia night more fun.
Cost: Free to play
Everyone loves the alpine slides
Of all the activities, I looked forward to the alpine slides the most. I had heard about them but never seen them in action.
Essentially, you ride a sled with wheels down a track on one of the ski hills. Yes, you have a brake so you can control your speed.
Two tracks means you can go down at the same time as a friend to make the trip down even more fun. If you’re like me, you might leave your friend behind as she takes it slow to enjoy the scenery.
One caveat: the alpine slides are incredibly weather dependent. If the track is at all wet, they close the alpine slides for safety. Unfortunately, my trip had rain, so we had just one trip down the mountain before the rain came and closed the slides for the rest of the day.
To get back up, you ride the ski lift. It’s an odd feeling to board and disembark the ski lift without skis, but it’s incredibly peaceful.
In fact, if you don’t want to ride the alpine slides, you can ride the ski lift down to the bottom and meet your friends and family there. This costs the same as a ride on the alpine slide.
- $10 for a single ticket
- $40 for a 5 ride ticket
- $35 for unlimited rides
- Group rates also available
Have you ever ridden a Segway?
I’ve seen Segway tours before, but only in cities as a way to explore the sights. Chestnut Mountain offers Segway tours of the wilderness on its mountain.
When you arrive, you sign the waivers and watch an instructional video. Once you get fitted for a helmet – that you must wear – you begin your training.
Each person one by one learns how to control the Segway while its in training mode. Though it seems daunting at first, everyone in our group picked it up quickly, then we advanced to controlling it outside training mode.
The tours have a guide at the front of the line and at the back, to ensure everyone stays together. That said, some of the group may travel faster through the trails and hills than others. The guide stops frequently to allow the group to regather.
You have fun on the trails, and the tour also leads you to a fantastic view of the Mississippi, as well. All in all, you explore several trails throughout the property on a tour that last 75 to 90 minutes, including training.
To do the Segway tour, children must be at least 14 years old. Everyone must weigh between 100 and 260 pounds, as well.
Make sure you book the Segway Tour at least 48 hours in advance, although they do sometimes have openings closer to the tour.
When you arrive, you must wear close toed shoes for safety and any purses, phones, etc go into the carrier on the Segway. Plan to leave anything you don’t absolutely need in your hotel room, however, as the carriers aren’t huge.
Cost: $60 per person
Enjoy the Soaring Eagle Zipline
When I think of ziplines, I picture being strapped in to a harness and climbing a tower to go from one line to another in a series of zips. The Soaring Eagle zipline is completely different – but no less cool.
For this zipline, two people ride it at the same time. You climb into a seat and get strapped in.
Once you’re ready, the mechanics fly you backwards along the line at 28 miles per hour. You stop, then inch up again even higher.
After a wait, you soar back to the start again at 28 miles per hour before stopping and then disembarking. It’s far faster than any other zipline I’ve ridden, and I loved it.
Granted, it isn’t for everyone, but I love fast moving thrill rides, and this fit right in!
- $15 for a single rider
- $25 for double riders or two rides by one person
- Group pricing available
Play disc golf
If you’ve never played disc golf, this may be your perfect opportunity to try it. Chestnut Mountain has a nine hole course that rambles across the property.
Best of all, it’s free for guests staying at Chestnut Mountain Resort. You can rent discs for $5, but the course fee itself comes at no charge.
If you lose a disc, there’s a $5 charge per disc, but it’s harder to lose a disc in disc golf than a ball playing traditional golf!
This is a super fun family activity that gets everyone outside for a game that – frankly – no one is good at but everyone can enjoy. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore more of the resort as you hike from hole to hole.
- No charge for Chestnut Mountain Resort guests
- $5 per person to play for not guests
- $5 to rent a disc (driver, mid-range, and putter)
- $5 charge for each lost disc
Or play miniature golf instead
Mini golf is something I’ve done as a family since I was a tiny child. Whenever we cruise, my kids and I spend half our free time playing, as they started playing back when I had to figure out ways to keep them from injuring themselves – or me – as they tried to play.
Chestnut Mountain Resort offers an 18 hole miniature golf course. Many of the holes are themed for the area, and all are fun to play.
Some newer courses are so gimmicky that they are so difficult that it takes the fun away. These are more traditional, which makes them enjoyable though still a challenge.
Pick up your ball and scorecard from the front desk, then head outside to grab a club. Enjoy navigating the 18 holes. They cover a small space relatively, but we enjoyed the course more than I expected.
Thankfully it isn’t truly weather dependent, so we could play through the drizzle even after the alpine slides closed.
- $5 per person
- $4 per person for children 12 and under
Explore the area on a mountain bike
Chestnut Mountain Resort holds a full stable of mountain bikes, as well. You can explore the same trails the Segway follows, or traverse elsewhere on the property.
You utilize the same helmets available for the Segway tours, and in fact pick up the bikes from almost the same place. While close toed shoes aren’t mandated the way they are for the Segway tours, common sense suggests you wear appropriate footwear for safety.
In addition to the Segway trails that head out from the parking lot area, you have your choice of 5 different trails through the property. Two are easy trails, two are medium difficulty, and one is a challenging trail.
Based on your preferences, you can rent a mountain bike for just an hour or utilize it for the entire day. How fun to pack a picnic lunch to take on the trails and eat along the way?
- $15 for one hour
- $30 for an all day rental
Enjoy a Mississippi boat cruise
If you visit Chestnut Mountain Resort on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, they offer a boat cruise, as well. The boat fits a maximum of 39 people for an hour and a half ride up and down the Mississippi river.
It’s a great way to see the local scenery from a different perspective. Unfortunately, I visited on a Tuesday – and with the weather we’ve had in Illinois, the river has been too high for the boat.
In fact, the staff told us the dock itself has been under water. If you plan to visit, verify the cruise. The weekend after our stay, the resort had planned to resume river cruises thankfully.
- $30 per person
- $25 for children ages 12 and under (call 800-397-1320 to book, as the online reservation system doesn’t include child rates)
Or enjoy them all with multi activity passes
The adventure package offers one single ride on the Soaring Eagle, unlimited alpine slide rides, and one round of mini golf or disc golf. This package costs $40 for a single ticket, or $30 after 5pm.
Plan to visit again and again? Pick up the season pass for $99. This entitles you to one adventure pass per day all summer long!