Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Pecatonica River

Pecatonica River is 466-acres of woodlands and oxbow swamps and is an Illinois Dedicated Nature Preserve. This preserve is divided into two parts, an upper and lower. The upper contains a 130-year-old limestone barn, hardwood forest, upland prairie and a shallow creek meandering between steep slopes. The upper area’s is one of the few spots in the county to experience a mature black maple forest.

The lower half is flatter, larger and contains vast swaths of restored prairies, floodplain woods, oxbow ponds, and extensive river access. Within its 55-acre Nature Preserve lies an oxbow lake with a minimally disturbed mesic forest with several species of unique flora. A nature trail and observation deck overlooking the pond provide easy access through this area.

Pileated woodpeckers and bald eagles have been sited along the river in or near the floodplain woods.  This forest preserve displays outstanding spring wildflowers, including bluebells.

Acres: 466
Access Road: Yes
Restrooms: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Tables: Yes
Shelterhouses: 1
Highview: Wood shelter, 300 max. people, 25 tables, 150 seats, Electricity, No vehicle access, 2 grills. 100 amp electricity (lights & plug-in).
Playground Equipment: Yes
Ball Fields: No
Horseback Trails: No
Hiking Trails(miles): 5.5
Campground Sites: No
Boat Launch: 1
Canoe Launch: Yes
18 Hole Golf Course: No
Illinois Nature Preserve: Yes
Special Facilities: Youth/Scout Camp, Shop
Donated Land: No
Natural Areas: Yes
All reservations subject to the GENERAL USE ORDINANCE.

Trail Map

Download a printable trail map here.

Scout/Youth Camp Map

Download a printable scout/youth camp map here.



7260 Judd Road & 14960 Brick School Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063
12 miles northwest of Rockford. Highway 70 (Trask Bridge Road) northwest to Judd Road, south on Judd Road 1½ miles. Or take Highway 20 west to Pecatonica Road, north through Pecatonica to Brick School Road, east to Judd Road.

Shelterhouses 360° Views


Shelterhouse *Fees
Max People Tables Seating Electric Playground
Highview $85 $115 300 25 150 Yes Yes

*Residents or non-residents of Winnebago County


Reservations are Non-refundable and Non-transferable

All shelters reservations are FULL day reservations. Shelter use is from 7:00am – Sunset. (Preserves close a half hour after sunset)

Shelters MUST be reserved 3 days in advance

$2.00 convenience fee added to credit card purchases