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Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, By Sara Norris, Megan Brechtel and Lisa Hickman

Entrances at 5360 Mulford Road and at 5801 Perryville Road, Cherry Valley, IL

This preserve offers many different activities.  Upon arrival, there is a large covered pavilion, a nice playground for children, and a grassy baseball diamond adjacent to these areas.  Leashed pets are allowed on the trails.  There are several types of trails including: a paved bike path, grassy trails that lead to the springs, and dirt trails for hiking that lead to the river’s edge.  The bike path is fairly flat, but some of the dirt trails prove to be a little more challenging—having steeper inclines and rougher terrain.  It seems that this geographical location floods after heavy rain, as the dirt and grassy paths can be muddy.  The bike path starts with prairie views and transitions to a wooded area, and after some time becomes parallel with the Kishwaukee River.  Bikers, runners, and hikers can enjoy the scenery of the river as they go along the paved pathway.  Blackhawk Springs is filled with lots of woods and prairieland; however at the time of our hike it was very barren from winter and recent flooding from rain.  Many animals could be seen, including:  squirrels, snakes, and multiple types of birds (including hawks hovering overhead!).  The walk was quite enjoyable, and once the warmer weather comes, the scenery is sure to be that much more beautiful.