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Sugar River Forest Preserve, by Melissa Cannell

Entrance at 10127 Forest Preserve Road, Durand, IL 60124

Come share in the sweet glory of the Sugar River and its’ surrounding forest preserve.  The 5.5 miles of trail here make the top of the favorite hikes list with more entertainment, sights, sounds, and serenity offered here than many other preserves. Ecological features include a braggingly pure river filled with wetland creatures (many endangered) and sandy bluffs that create small beaches along it.  As well as dense forest with tall pines, and sandy prairie, all of this surrounded by the quiet countryside of northern Illinois makes Sugar River forest preserve a popular place for human and animal alike! For whatever you crave the Sugar River forest preserve has something to feed your interests with camping, hiking, open recreation fields and nets, fishing, paddling, and horseback riding all in its secluded 529 acres of land.

The trail system at Sugar River forest preserve travels the entire preserve from the south end with restored prairie, up through forest and wetland, with such a mesmerizing array of colorful birds it could make anyone consider taking up birding as a hobby.  Follow north along the banks and bluffs of the bending river, and by the shelter houses, wonderfully scenic spots to have a picnic or a cookout in the shade before continuing your hike. Heading to the northern tip of the preserve you will walk by the river side campgrounds, and think about coming back for a camping trip and a paddle on this gorgeous river.  The north-most end of the trail stops at Yale Bridge Road, if you crave more after this hike, go visit the neighboring Colored Sands forest preserve across this street, known to have sweet views of the Sugar River as well.  The path loops back down to the east and around the edge of a tall ever green forest that holds more camping.  The trail eventually hooks up with Forest Preserve Rd, which is the road you should drive in on to start your hike through Sugar River forest preserve.  There is no doubt the Sugar River forest preserve has one of the best hiking trails in northern Illinois. There is so much to see and do, spend a day, or a whole week here to take in all its sweet glory!