The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County provides four campgrounds for general public use. The campgrounds provide paved access roads, running water, electric hookups (none at Pecatonica River), restrooms, and dump stations. Shower facilities are available only at Sugar River. A diversity of recreation opportunities including fishing, ball fields and hiking trails are found nearby. Select sites may be reserved online for Sugar River, Seward Bluffs and Hononegah. Five additional youth camping areas may be reserved online or at the District Office. Equestrian camping at Oak Ridge and Seward Bluffs Forest Preserves only. Overnight camping is not permitted outside these designated areas. Firewood may be brought in to campgrounds but unused firewood cannot be taken out due to the spread of Emerald Ash Borer.
WINTER PUBLIC CAMPING REGULATIONS
During the period of mid-November through mid-April, District campgrounds will be open to public camping on a limited basis.
- Roadways will not be plowed or open to vehicular traffic.
- Water and electrical service may not be available. Walk-in tent camping may be permitted at no charge when campers request a grounds use permit with three working days’ notice and approval of the Forest Preserves Director.
For a camping brochure, please click below:
To reserve a campsite at Sugar River, Seward Bluffs and Hononegah Campground please click here. Select sites may be reserved at each campground and campsites MUST be reserved 7 days in advance.
Purchased in 1924, the preserve is located on the north bank of the Rock River and bisected by Dry Run Creek. The preserve was once a camping area of Stephen Mack, the County’s first permanent white settler, and Hononegah, his Native American wife. Upon entering the preserve, campers will enjoy the drive over the Rainbow Bridge and up into the cool maple grove. The Winnebago Indian Campground has campsites interspersed in a mature stand of white oaks and hickories. A launch for fishing boat access to the Rock River is available. The campground is located 2 miles from antique shopping in downtown Rockton and the Macktown Golf Course. Host on duty in campground May-October. In the absence of a host, please use the self-registration station. There are 58 sites (7-50 amp, 35-30 amp & 16 non electric) 14 of the sites may be reserved online, dump station, horseshoe pits, & playground.
This camping area is located on a breezy hillside in the Pecatonica River Forest Preserve. Large trees shape and shade the campsites. A boat launch for small boats and canoes provides access to the Pecatonica River. A free interpretive booklet is available to guide hikers along a 1-1/2 mile nature trail. Campers, even on the busiest weekends, can be assured of finding a site in this remote campground. The campground is located four miles northeast of Pecatonica, offering easy access to activities at the Winnebago County Fairgrounds. Host may or may not be present at this campground. In the absence of a host, please use the self-registration station. There are 15 sites (No Electricity), none of the sites are reservable online, dump station, playground, & horseshoe pits.
Purchased in 1930, this preserve is one of the most serene and pleasant areas in the County. The preserve is bisected by Grove Creek, which has high limestone bluffs on its north and south sides. The campsites are interspersed in a majestic stand of bur oaks. Located just off Highway 20, Seward Bluffs is two miles south of Pecatonica and the Winnebago County Fairgrounds, and is also an excellent overnight area for traveling campers. Host on duty in campground May-October. In the absence of a host, please use the self-registration station. There are 46 sites (14-50 amp, 21-30 amp & 11-non electric), 7 of the sites may be reserved online, dump station, horseshoe pits, & playground.
Most of the developed portion of this preserve is built on a large sand terrace overlooking the Sugar River. Purchased in 1925, workers in the Public Works Administration program built stone walls and the picturesque Riverview Shelterhouse. The pine tree campground has individual campsites nestled throughout a large pine plantation. A shower house is available. The preserve also offers primitive camping along the river’s edge. Canoes can be launched near the camping area or from an area downriver. A scenic hiking trail loop meanders through this unique preserve and takes the hiker through a variety of natural features. Host on duty in campground May-October. In the absence of a host, please use the self-registration station. There are 82 sites (13-50 amp, 57-30 amp, & 12 primitive) 21 of the sites may be reserved online, dump station, playground, basketball, & horseshoe pits.
|FEES STARTING NOVEMBER 1, 2013||Resident||Non-resident|
|Regular campground (Sugar River)||$15/unit||$25/unit|
|Senior (62 and over) & disabled||$13/unit||$23/unit|
|Electric hookup (additional) 3 units per site max||$8/unit||$8/unit|
|Regular campgrounds (Pecatonica (no electric), Seward, Hononegah)||$13/unit||$23/unit|
|Senior (62 and over) & disabled||$11/unit||$21/unit|
|Electric hookup (additional) 3 units per site max||$8/unit||$8/unit|
|Primitive area (Pecatonica & Sugar River)||$13/unit||$23/unit|
|Organized Youth Group Camping by reservation only (per weekend reservation)|
|50 or less people||$25||$35|
|Over 50 people||$35||$45|
|Firewood from host (when available)||$7/bundle||$7/bundle|
|Non-camper dump station use fee||$20||$30|
Note: All campers must be established and registered by 10:00 P.M. A fee will be collected and separate permits will be issued for each unit.
For assistance please contact the Forest Preserve District Office at 815-877-6100, Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm. On Saturday, Sunday and Holidays please contact the Host at the appropriate number below:
Hononegah – 815-624-4878
Seward Bluffs – 815-289-4754
Sugar River – 815-988-7485
Campgrounds will open mid-April and will close mid-November.
Youth camping areas for scouts and other organized youth groups are offered at five preserves: Hononegah, Sugar River, Pecatonica River, Seward Bluffs and Rotary. All are tent camping areas; Rotary also offers a large rustic cabin structure with fireplace (no electricity or water). The campgrounds provide access roads, hand pump, fire rings, and pit restrooms. A diversity of recreation opportunities including fishing, ball fields and hiking trails are found nearby. Reservations are accepted online or at the Forest Preserve Office for any of the five youth campgrounds. Overnight camping is not permitted outside designated areas.
An adult only (18 years old or over) may apply for a permit. A group composed of up to twenty (20) juniors must be supervised by a minimum of three (3) adults, and above this figure a ratio of one adult to not more than every ten (10) juniors must be observed. See the Youth Camp Brochure for fees and complete information.
To reserve a youth camp at Sugar River, Seward Bluffs, Hononegah, Rockford Rotary and Pecatonica River please click here.