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Visit Forest Preserves of Winnebago County for Fall Colors

Fall colors are at their peak in northern Illinois and Forest Preserves of Winnebago County offer ideal opportunities to enjoy their brief glory.

Here are a few recommended forest preserves for fall walks to discover the glorious forest and prairie colors, textures and aromas happening now.

Don’t forget to watch for the hundreds of migrating bird species passing through our area. Visitors are welcome to experience autumn’s delights in all 44 forest preserves. Learn more at

  1. Seward Bluffs- An inviting scenic overlook high on a bluff looks out over the Grove Creek valley and offers a bird’s eye view of the preserves’ golden display of maple forest and picturesque limestone bridge. Seward Bluff’ western section offers a trail hike through rusty-hued trees and grasses of the oak savanna.


  1. Blackhawk Springs- This popular preserve offers a two-mile paved recreation path (as well as a network of dirt and grass trails that wind through woods and prairie. Don’t forget to check out the rich aromas and deep hues of the fall prairie!) This preserve straddles the Kishwaukee River, one of the highest quality rivers in the state, and visitors can enjoy the unique opportunity to view the deep russet colors of oak forest and bright blue autumn sky reflected on the river.


  1. Hononegah- This picturesque preserve was the first purchased by FPWC in 1922 and contains one of the most mature woods in the county. Hononegah’s winding roads and bridges provide a nice fall drive-through, as well as walking opportunities. While walking Hononegah’s 2.7 miles of trails you could stop and rest in the historic limestone Bird Grove shelter built in the 1930’s by the CCC.


  1. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden – An astounding variety of trees can be found in this living tree museum. The collection boasts trees from around the world, as well as native species. Like Blackhawk Springs, Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden offers both a paved path and dirt/grass trails. Fall is an ideal time for birdwatching at Klehm because migrating birds are feasting on the many nuts and berries produced by trees and shrubs.


  1. Kishwaukee Gorge (north)- The fall foliage is spectacular. The golden leaves of maples, the russets of old oaks, red sumac, set against a background of sparkling blue river. A high lookout provides nice autumn views out over the gorge. Sit down on the bench here and relax up in the tops of the trees surrounded by glowing leaves, the river just visible deep down through the thick forest. In the upland woods and prairie savanna deep russet oaks and red sumacs line the trails.