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“Wilderness in the city.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park
7223 West Lane Road, Loves Park, IL 61011
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Ranked #1 of 13 Attractions in Loves Park
Type: State Parks, Outdoors
Activities: Cross-country skiing
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Attraction details
Owner description: Scenic park of 3,092 acres that offers many recreational options such as camping, hiking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.
Frisco, Texas
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Wilderness in the city.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2014

Absolutely a gem. Hidden right in the heart of the city.
Great fishing, horse back trails, hiking and camping! Good X-country skiing in the winter.(Be aware if camping, you can hear the toll way since the park runs parallel to it) This winter has really trashed the roads so if your on a motorcycle this spring, be careful. There is a fee if you plan on swimming , camping or fishing.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great Escape”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

My dog and I could run in this park forever! We enjoy it all year round. We've seen fox, deer, bats and loads of turkeys. Some easier trails, but also some extra-fun narrow, winding technical trails. There are a lot of trails that connect and intersect with minimal signage, which can sometimes be confusing, so I wouldn't recommend being on a tight time schedule when hiking/running. (for us that's the fun of being out in nature) We generally avoid the horse trails as they don't connect in many places with the rest of the trails so you end up going in circles. If you're visiting in the late summer there is a fantastic casual race series in the park (the best one is the night 10K, only lit by your own headlamp) www.rockfordroadrunners.org

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Picturesque trails close to the Illinois Tollway”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

Just before you cross over the Wisconsin border from Illinois lies Rock Cut State Park, the largest state park in northern Illinois. On the crisp weekend when summer switched over to fall, my husband and I camped with another couple who had been at the park a few times before. Our campsite #32 was spacious and shady, with plenty of room for our two cars, two tents and various cooking paraphernalia. The park supplies each site with a picnic table with benches and an adjustable cooking grate over a pit where you can use either charcoal or wood to cook your meals. Bring aluminum foil. We also brought our little Smokey Joe, a propane stove, as well as a small wood-burning cookstove my husband wanted to experiment with, as we had lots of different foods to cook. The campsite was within close proximity of a dual men's and women's outhouse, but not too close (: To shower and wash up, however, is not within walking distance.

We hiked around part of Pierce Lake one afternoon. It's quite sizable and thankfully doesn't allow motor boats. I wouldn't mind returning sometime to rent a canoe for a few hours. Many people fish from the piers or shore of the lake.I heard there's also another lake at the park, but we didn't visit that one. The next morning we took another hiking route past the dam and up and down wood stairs and platforms that laced through various limestone rock formations. Our friends told us that after a snowmelt or large rain, waterfalls can be seen coming off some of the formations.

The park was clean and well taken care of. It was a bit more crowded than we had anticipated, feeling anytime after Labor Day would be a more slow season. But with such a beautiful weekend, many came out to enjoy. People all around were well-behaved and friendly. We felt quite a bit of freedom to burn wood and make ourselves at home at our campsite. The stars were out at night and so was the harvest moon, which we focused in on with a pair of binoculars.

The only drawback was something that I did not notice the entire first day or evening we were there -- noise from the Illinois Tollway. The park is situated just west of the Tollway, so our friends asked for a site where we wouldn't be able to hear the road. But after I crawled into my sleeping bag in the tent and closed my eyes, I immediately noticed the tollway road noise, especially the trucks. How could I not have heard it before? Maybe because I'm a Chicagoan and used to it? It didn't drastically disturb my sleep, but when I woke up now and then during the night, I could hear it.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peoria, Illinois
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

Super nice park close to the Chicago and Rockford Illinois areas. GPS had bad directions, but park signage was good. Park was clean and well maintained. Early spring and late summer/early fall are great times to visit. Excellent fishing lake, great camping location, and good for hiking. Being a state park there is no fee, and the camping fee was really reasonable. We plan to visit in the fall to see the foliage change colors.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
38 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Fun hiking”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

My husband and I spent a couple hours hiking around the lake.

First, the google map directions put us west of the entrance where there is nothing (we reported the direction issue to google). There are signs pointing towards the entrance... follow the signs.

The signage on where trails are located are nonexistent while driving around the park. There are signs for camping, swimming, and other places. There are occasional maps of the park located at the entrance and each 'area' (picnic areas, beach area, entrance, etc). We drove first towards the beach.. there did not appear to be a trail head in this area so we drove back and went the other direction towards the picnic and concession areas then stopped at the first picnic area where we found a map and confirmed there was a trailhead somewhere near us.

The trails are not marked well. We looked for openings around the tree edges and found our trails - no markers to indicate the trailheads. There were occasional markers on the trails with a color and a symbol of the acceptable use for the trail (i.e. hiker image, bike image, horse image). The trails we were on were mostly dirt and wide enough for 2 people (these are trails!) with the occasional areas that are barely walked over and wide enough for 1 person or that widen out with gravel. The trails we walked were mostly easy and scenic.

We while hiking we stopped at the concession building and got a chocolate shake & an iced coffee. The coffee was a bit too sweet & the shake was huge. The lady that was working there when we stopped was really nice!

My husband used the bathroom/outhouse and reported the conditions to be okay. Considering the temps were in the 90s, 'okay' is good for an outhouse.

The lake was large and there were a lot of people out on boats & rentals. The rentals were listed as $10 - $15 per hour. We will probably go back for at some point to camp, fish, swim, and rent a kayak.

Recommendation: bug spray & sunscreen.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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