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Kishwaukee Gorge North

Kishwaukee Gorge Forest Preserve (North) contains some of the most interesting geology in Winnebago County. It offers a hiker’s paradise of diverse woodlands, prairie openings and rugged ravines. This preserve is home to a restored prairie, deep forest with large, statuesque twisted oak trees, and steep-sided gorges leading down to a peaceful opening on the Kishwaukee River. Nearly three miles of relatively easy hiking trail consist of mowed grass around the prairie, and a rather rugged dirt path in the forest. The trail becomes a bit challenging when climbing down and up the fifty or so steep, man-made steps along the side of the gorge that lead to its bottom, and the Kishwaukee River.

Seasonal Highlights at Kishwaukee Gorge North

A high up fenced lookout provides nice summer views out over the gorge. Sit down on the bench here and relax up in the tops of the trees with the birds, the river just visible deep down through the thick forestry.

Late summer is peak bloom for the diverse prairie flowers, and fall prairie grasses offer a tapestry of rich color and texture.

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.

In winter, cross-county skiing may be enjoyed on Kishwaukee Gorge’s mowed trails. All FPWC cross-country ski trails are ungroomed. The access road allows room for skiers to park their cars off the roadway in front of the locked gates.

Acres: 127.6
Access Road: Yes
Restrooms: Yes
Drinking Water: No
Picnic Tables: Yes
Shelterhouses: No
Playground Equipment: No
Ball Fields: No
Horseback Trails: No
Hiking Trails(miles): 3.1
Campground Sites: No
Boat Launch: No
Canoe Launch: No
18 Hole Golf Course: No
Illinois Nature Preserve: No
Special Facilities: No
Donated Land: No
Natural Areas: Yes
All reservations subject to the GENERAL USE ORDINANCE.

Trail Map

Download a printable trail map here.


4643 Blackhawk Road, Cherry Valley, IL 61016
Kishwaukee Gorge North access is on Blackhawk Road, just west of I-39, east of Route 251.

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