Dixon Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

363 Reviews

Looking for the best Cross Country Skiing trails around Dixon?

Find the top rated cross country skiing trails in Dixon, whether you're looking for an easy short cross country skiing trail or a long cross country skiing trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a cross country skiing trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

  • Relevance
  • Name
  • Length
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type
16 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Badger State Trail

40 mi
State: WI
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Copper Creek Trail

0.75 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Great River Trail

62.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Great Western Trail (IL)

17 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Hennepin Canal Parkway

104.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

79.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Grass, Gravel

Jane Addams Trail

18.9 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Joe Stengel Trail

7.9 mi
State: IL
Ballast, Grass, Gravel

Kishwaukee River Recreation Path

2.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail

4.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Long Prairie Trail

13.9 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Lowell Parkway Trail

3.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Lynn Boulevard/Westwood Trail

3.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

12.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Rock River Recreation Path

10 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Stone Bridge Trail

5.8 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
Rail-trail fans know that Wisconsin’s Elroy-Sparta State Trail is famous for its three tunnels. The Badger State Trail, which heads south from Madison to the Illinois state line (where it connects...
WI 40 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Copper Creek Trail runs for a short distance from the town of Preston, heading northwest along Copper Creek to meet with the Bear River Recreation Trail. You'll find a nice picnic spot with a...
IA 0.75 mi Crushed Stone
The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along more than 60 miles of the Mississippi River in northern Illinois. In places, the paved trail follows the former spur route of the Chicago, St....
IL 62.3 mi Asphalt
The western segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 17 miles of a former railway corridor through DeKalb and Kane counties, between LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and the town of Sycamore....
IL 17 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Hennepin Canal Parkway, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a state park, follows an old towpath along a canal opened in 1907 and quickly abandoned due to competition...
IL 104.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail follows the eponymous waterway alongside the Illinois River. It traverses the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, designated in 1984 and the first...
IL 79.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Grass, Gravel
There’s no debating the historical significance of the Jane Addams Trail. Not only is it named for a Nobel Peace Prize-winning social activist who grew up nearby, but the trail also passes the site of...
IL 18.9 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Joe Stengel Trail follows an old railroad corridor for 7 miles between the town of Polo and the much smaller community of Woosung. The trail corridor traces farm country along a route scattered...
IL 7.9 mi Ballast, Grass, Gravel
The Kishwaukee River Recreation Path runs for 2.5 miles in Cherry Valley on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. The well-maintained, asphalt trail connects the Kishwaukee River Forest...
IL 2.5 mi Asphalt
The Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail winds through the northern Illinois town of DeKalb, coursing along a river, through woodlands, among open spaces through parks and through suburban back yards. The trail...
IL 4.5 mi Asphalt
The Long Prairie Trail journeys across the width of agricultural Boone County for nearly 14 miles on the railroad corridor previously used by the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad, later known as the...
IL 13.9 mi Asphalt
The Lowell Parkway Trail runs through the charming town of Dixon, Illinois, boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. The trail occupies the rail bed of the old Illinois Central Railroad, between Lowell Park and...
IL 3.5 mi Asphalt
The trail user can be transported from the bustling Westwood Fitness and Sports Center to a beautiful wooded trail that offers Elkhorn Creek on the far outer loop of the trail, a shelter at the top of...
IL 3.7 mi Asphalt
The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, is a 12.5-mile rail-trail extending from the western edge of Rockford to the Winnebago–Stephenson county line west of...
IL 12.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The paved Rock River Recreation Trail winds throughout downtown Rockford and environs, following the east bank of the Rock River through Shorewood Park and Martin Memorial Park. Officially, the trail...
IL 10 mi Asphalt
Built on a former rail bed dating back to the 1850s, the Stone Bridge Trail provides a crushed limestone pathway through rural countryside. A highlight of the trail is passage on Stone Bridge over the...
IL 5.8 mi Crushed Stone

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 30,000 of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favourite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Trails by activity

Great River Trail

IL - 62.3 miles

The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along more than 60 miles of the Mississippi River in northern Illinois. In places, the paved trail follows the former spur route of the Chicago, St....

Rock River Recreation Path

IL - 10 miles

The paved Rock River Recreation Trail winds throughout downtown Rockford and environs, following the east bank of the Rock River through Shorewood Park and Martin Memorial Park. Officially, the trail...

Jane Addams Trail

IL - 18.9 miles

There’s no debating the historical significance of the Jane Addams Trail. Not only is it named for a Nobel Peace Prize-winning social activist who grew up nearby, but the trail also passes the site of...

Copper Creek Trail

IA - 0.75 miles

The Copper Creek Trail runs for a short distance from the town of Preston, heading northwest along Copper Creek to meet with the Bear River Recreation Trail. You'll find a nice picnic spot with a...

Accordion

Lynn Boulevard/Westwood Trail

IL - 3.7 miles

The trail user can be transported from the bustling Westwood Fitness and Sports Center to a beautiful wooded trail that offers Elkhorn Creek on the far outer loop of the trail, a shelter at the top of...

Stone Bridge Trail

IL - 5.8 miles

Built on a former rail bed dating back to the 1850s, the Stone Bridge Trail provides a crushed limestone pathway through rural countryside. A highlight of the trail is passage on Stone Bridge over the...

Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail

IL - 4.5 miles

The Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail winds through the northern Illinois town of DeKalb, coursing along a river, through woodlands, among open spaces through parks and through suburban back yards. The trail...

Kishwaukee River Recreation Path

IL - 2.5 miles

The Kishwaukee River Recreation Path runs for 2.5 miles in Cherry Valley on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. The well-maintained, asphalt trail connects the Kishwaukee River Forest...

Hennepin Canal Parkway

IL - 104.5 miles

The Hennepin Canal Parkway, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a state park, follows an old towpath along a canal opened in 1907 and quickly abandoned due to competition...

Long Prairie Trail

IL - 13.9 miles

The Long Prairie Trail journeys across the width of agricultural Boone County for nearly 14 miles on the railroad corridor previously used by the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad, later known as the...

Badger State Trail

WI - 40 miles

Rail-trail fans know that Wisconsin’s Elroy-Sparta State Trail is famous for its three tunnels. The Badger State Trail, which heads south from Madison to the Illinois state line (where it connects...

Great Western Trail (IL)

IL - 17 miles

The western segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 17 miles of a former railway corridor through DeKalb and Kane counties, between LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and the town of Sycamore....

Lowell Parkway Trail

IL - 3.5 miles

The Lowell Parkway Trail runs through the charming town of Dixon, Illinois, boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. The trail occupies the rail bed of the old Illinois Central Railroad, between Lowell Park and...

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

IL - 12.5 miles

The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, is a 12.5-mile rail-trail extending from the western edge of Rockford to the Winnebago–Stephenson county line west of...

Joe Stengel Trail

IL - 7.9 miles

The Joe Stengel Trail follows an old railroad corridor for 7 miles between the town of Polo and the much smaller community of Woosung. The trail corridor traces farm country along a route scattered...

Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail

IL - 4.5 miles

The Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail winds through the northern Illinois town of DeKalb, coursing along a river, through woodlands, among open spaces through parks and through suburban back yards. The trail...

Jane Addams Trail

IL - 18.9 miles

There’s no debating the historical significance of the Jane Addams Trail. Not only is it named for a Nobel Peace Prize-winning social activist who grew up nearby, but the trail also passes the site of...

Great River Trail

IL - 62.3 miles

The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along more than 60 miles of the Mississippi River in northern Illinois. In places, the paved trail follows the former spur route of the Chicago, St....

Accordion

Lynn Boulevard/Westwood Trail

IL - 3.7 miles

The trail user can be transported from the bustling Westwood Fitness and Sports Center to a beautiful wooded trail that offers Elkhorn Creek on the far outer loop of the trail, a shelter at the top of...

Long Prairie Trail

IL - 13.9 miles

The Long Prairie Trail journeys across the width of agricultural Boone County for nearly 14 miles on the railroad corridor previously used by the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad, later known as the...

Lowell Parkway Trail

IL - 3.5 miles

The Lowell Parkway Trail runs through the charming town of Dixon, Illinois, boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. The trail occupies the rail bed of the old Illinois Central Railroad, between Lowell Park and...

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

IL - 12.5 miles

The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, is a 12.5-mile rail-trail extending from the western edge of Rockford to the Winnebago–Stephenson county line west of...

Rock River Recreation Path

IL - 10 miles

The paved Rock River Recreation Trail winds throughout downtown Rockford and environs, following the east bank of the Rock River through Shorewood Park and Martin Memorial Park. Officially, the trail...

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

IL - 79.5 miles

The Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail follows the eponymous waterway alongside the Illinois River. It traverses the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, designated in 1984 and the first...

Copper Creek Trail

IA - 0.75 miles

The Copper Creek Trail runs for a short distance from the town of Preston, heading northwest along Copper Creek to meet with the Bear River Recreation Trail. You'll find a nice picnic spot with a...

Kishwaukee River Recreation Path

IL - 2.5 miles

The Kishwaukee River Recreation Path runs for 2.5 miles in Cherry Valley on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. The well-maintained, asphalt trail connects the Kishwaukee River Forest...

Stone Bridge Trail

IL - 5.8 miles

Built on a former rail bed dating back to the 1850s, the Stone Bridge Trail provides a crushed limestone pathway through rural countryside. A highlight of the trail is passage on Stone Bridge over the...

Hennepin Canal Parkway

IL - 104.5 miles

The Hennepin Canal Parkway, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a state park, follows an old towpath along a canal opened in 1907 and quickly abandoned due to competition...

Great Western Trail (IL)

IL - 17 miles

The western segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 17 miles of a former railway corridor through DeKalb and Kane counties, between LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and the town of Sycamore....

Badger State Trail

WI - 40 miles

Rail-trail fans know that Wisconsin’s Elroy-Sparta State Trail is famous for its three tunnels. The Badger State Trail, which heads south from Madison to the Illinois state line (where it connects...

Hennepin Canal Parkway

IL - 104.5 miles

The Hennepin Canal Parkway, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a state park, follows an old towpath along a canal opened in 1907 and quickly abandoned due to competition...

Lowell Parkway Trail

IL - 3.5 miles

The Lowell Parkway Trail runs through the charming town of Dixon, Illinois, boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. The trail occupies the rail bed of the old Illinois Central Railroad, between Lowell Park and...

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

IL - 79.5 miles

The Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail follows the eponymous waterway alongside the Illinois River. It traverses the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, designated in 1984 and the first...

Stone Bridge Trail

IL - 5.8 miles

Built on a former rail bed dating back to the 1850s, the Stone Bridge Trail provides a crushed limestone pathway through rural countryside. A highlight of the trail is passage on Stone Bridge over the...

Accordion

Badger State Trail

WI - 40 miles

Rail-trail fans know that Wisconsin’s Elroy-Sparta State Trail is famous for its three tunnels. The Badger State Trail, which heads south from Madison to the Illinois state line (where it connects...

Joe Stengel Trail

IL - 7.9 miles

The Joe Stengel Trail follows an old railroad corridor for 7 miles between the town of Polo and the much smaller community of Woosung. The trail corridor traces farm country along a route scattered...

Long Prairie Trail

IL - 13.9 miles

The Long Prairie Trail journeys across the width of agricultural Boone County for nearly 14 miles on the railroad corridor previously used by the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad, later known as the...

Great Western Trail (IL)

IL - 17 miles

The western segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 17 miles of a former railway corridor through DeKalb and Kane counties, between LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and the town of Sycamore....

Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail

IL - 4.5 miles

The Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail winds through the northern Illinois town of DeKalb, coursing along a river, through woodlands, among open spaces through parks and through suburban back yards. The trail...

Copper Creek Trail

IA - 0.75 miles

The Copper Creek Trail runs for a short distance from the town of Preston, heading northwest along Copper Creek to meet with the Bear River Recreation Trail. You'll find a nice picnic spot with a...

Great River Trail

IL - 62.3 miles

The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along more than 60 miles of the Mississippi River in northern Illinois. In places, the paved trail follows the former spur route of the Chicago, St....

Rock River Recreation Path

IL - 10 miles

The paved Rock River Recreation Trail winds throughout downtown Rockford and environs, following the east bank of the Rock River through Shorewood Park and Martin Memorial Park. Officially, the trail...

Kishwaukee River Recreation Path

IL - 2.5 miles

The Kishwaukee River Recreation Path runs for 2.5 miles in Cherry Valley on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. The well-maintained, asphalt trail connects the Kishwaukee River Forest...

Lynn Boulevard/Westwood Trail

IL - 3.7 miles

The trail user can be transported from the bustling Westwood Fitness and Sports Center to a beautiful wooded trail that offers Elkhorn Creek on the far outer loop of the trail, a shelter at the top of...

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

IL - 12.5 miles

The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, is a 12.5-mile rail-trail extending from the western edge of Rockford to the Winnebago–Stephenson county line west of...

Jane Addams Trail

IL - 18.9 miles

There’s no debating the historical significance of the Jane Addams Trail. Not only is it named for a Nobel Peace Prize-winning social activist who grew up nearby, but the trail also passes the site of...

Recent Trail Reviews

Jane Addams Trail

Lovely trail. Fine for road bikes if path is dry.

July, 2018 by wilsonae

Took my road bike to Tutty's trailhead in Freeport. Paved trail is well marked. Ramp out over railway tracks so you have to carry your bike over, but this seems to be in the process of being fixed. End of pavement leads to limestone trail (TURN RIGHT; signs very confusing). This is the best part of the trail. You can still see some railway tracks imbedded in the dirt at crossroads (which are mercifully few). Perfectly lovely trail, lots of trees for cooler ride, straight flat packed earth. Only one person passed by me in 16 miles; no walkers, runners, dogs or other bikes. Peaceful solitude and beautiful rural countryside. The trail was fine for my road bike, but I would not ride here if it were wet or muddy. Can't wait to do the whole thing.

Great River Trail

Savannah to Thomson Only

June, 2018 by jorourke61088

Only had time to go from Savannah to Thomson. It is all paved. The first part is tree lined trail. The water in the rivers was high and the trail could use some weed wacking. After a while you got on to country roads that went past the river. It was windy and there wasn't a lot to shield you but it was a nice day. I would have liked to have seen more of the Mississippi River. Maybe 25% or so you can see the Mississippi but the rest of the view is blocked by houses or trees. Tons of parking in Savannah by the railroad car.

Great River Trail

Review of the West End of the Trail Only

June, 2018 by pedalfree

I rode from the trailhead at Sunset Park in Rock Island to the Arsenal Bridge where I crossed into Iowa, so this review is only for that short section of the trail. It's urban and it moves onto and off the high levee overlooking the Mississippi with ease.

Parking at Sunset Park is easy, and routefinding isn't a challenge at all.
Just head north and follow the signs. Once you're out of the park, you'll climb onto a flood control levee overlooking Old Man River. The views are spectacular. The trail eventually comes off the levee and into a neighborhood that has an industrial urban feel to it, but I don't mean that in a bad way. It adds flavor and it just felt very safe. The pavement is as smooth as it gets and the signage is just about right. People along the trail were kind and friendly.

Bottom line, this is a really nice section of trail that overlooks an iconic American landmark. It's well worth the ride if you get the chance.

Accordion

Hennepin Canal Parkway

A Slice of Wilderness in an Otherwise Developed Place

June, 2018 by pedalfree

It would be easy to view this trail in a negative light. The pavement is a mixed bag. It's not fast and smooth. Maintenance appears to be non-existent. There are hazards. There are snakes (I ran over one) and loads of bugs. You won't find a lot of services, at least at the west end.

But what you also won't find is a lot of people and sometimes that's a good thing. You won't find the type of self-absorbed roadies and triatheletes who sometimes terrorize other trail users by buzzing them at 25 mph. You won't find a lot suburban dog walkers. What you will find are cyclists and runners who genuinely enjoy being out in the natural world. If you like your nature natural instead of Disneyfied, you're gonna love this trail. If you like history, there are a number of locks along the trail. This was once a working canal. A local runner I met on the trail told me that it was the model for the Panama Canal.

I rode from Colona to Geneseo and back on Saturday June 9, 2018. It's a 21 mile round trip. It was muggy but interestingly enough, there were pockets of cooler air, too. The underpass below I80 was dark and flooded...real horror movie stuff. About a mile up, a small bridge was out but someone had carved a bypass and my Salsa Fargo with 29 x 2.25 WTB Rangers handed it just fine. I was surprised at how empty it felt out here. This is a part of the country where it's really hard to get away from civilization, but on this stretch at least, you can. The miles flew by and soon enough I was back at my car.

I've read a number of comments from people who tried to tackle this on road bikes. It's probably doable if you're adept at picking a line, but there are better bikes to choose for this. I got lucky and picked the right one and that no doubt added to my enjoyment. You could ride it on just about anything though. It's just not that rugged. It is pockmarked and goes from mostly paved to mostly unpaved and back many times. Between the mud and berries, my bike was filthy when I got back to the car. Bring a rag and clean it off when you're done or you'll have a mess when you get home.

The moral of the story here is to know what it is you're getting into and plan accordingly. Bring Deet unless you want to be eaten alive. Don't go traipsing through the weeds unless you want to get up close and personal with snakes. You're traversing what is mostly a wild wetland and if my experience was any indication, you'll have it mostly to yourself. That's pretty special in this day and age. Five stars, only because I can't give it six.

Hennepin Canal Parkway

Wyanet to Bureau Junction

May, 2018 by elindst1

Rode the Hennepin canal from Wyanet to the end of trail in Bureau Junction. Took our road bikes and that was not a mistake. We parked at the Bureau Valley Wyanet Elementary school which is about a ½ mile easy ride to the trail. The trail started out as dirt/crushed limestone which made it a bit of a slow go at first. It then changed to old asphalt type material.

7.5 miles from the end there was about a ½ mile of packed down gravel which wasn’t the best to ride on with our road bikes but it was passable. After that stretch it was a combination of old asphalt and some dirt on top of old asphalt.

There were also 2-3 parks along the way with toilets (no running water though). In fact, you should be prepared to ride the whole way with however much food and water you need as there really are no places to stop.

All of it was pretty level and the condition of the surface was decent until the last 2-3 miles. This was still ok for the road bikes but the condition of the surface was just not as good.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

Bumpy ride

May, 2018 by ryanalf

I rode Ottawa to LaSalle. Sections of the trail were very rough. Motorbike tracks, moguls and stream remnants made the trail dangerous. The history and the washed out bridge are awesome(see photo).

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

Start of the trail season warnings

March, 2018 by chubbycheeks

My husband rode his fat tire bike on the trail this morning between Chestnut St., in Ottawa, and the Buffalo Rock trail parking lot. His goal was to check out the conditions of the trail. He said that it was not fun. He came back via the street. The trail was wet, and the 1/2 mile from Chestnut west, as well as the 1/2 mile from Buffalo Rock east had many piles of dog poop. (There is a parking lot at Buffalo Rock that people use when they walk their dogs.) Seems like the dog walkers do not even bother to sweep the poop piles to the side. That is the least you can do if you are not going to pick it up.

Ottawa Riverwalk

Reminders of History

November, 2017 by wilhelmggw

I have long enjoyed the beautiful Fox River, and been interested in the history of the small towns along the I&M Canal and the Illinois River. Visiting this new trail in Ottawa had me reminiscing a lot about this area and all my explorations of old. M'thinks I'll be coming back to this trail again soon.

Badger State Trail

bager state trail

November, 2017 by stuff6

Rode south out of fitchburg. About 5-6 miles south this turns into a limestone path. I rode it in november so maybe its better in the summer but its no skinny tire road bike route. Was nice until then.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

good relaxing ride, completed in segments

October, 2017 by eric.dobson2

I finally completed the trail in LaSalle last weekend, I had been completing the entire route in segments throughout the summer. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, I liked the historical placards and informative mile markers. Yes, I stopped and read every one of them! I thought it was really well done, and very interesting history of the canal and its construction and usage. Cool grande finale ending up in LaSalle where the packet boat and mule towpath was in full display with the tour.

I started in Lemont where the trail begins, through Lockport (the old canal headquarters) and got through Joliet. A must see is the old Joliet Iron Works, an interesting historical walking tour. The next segment I completed was from Joliet (Rockdale) to Channahon, with beautiful views of the Illinois River. Saw an abundance of varied wildlife as the canal here is wide with plenty of water still left in it. McKinley Woods Park is a nice diversion to take a break. Channahon to Morris was the next segment, again with nice views of barges on the river and the Dresden dam area. From Morris to Marseilles the trail begins to get more woodsy, and at some points the trail goes from crushed limestone to single track dirt. This is where the canal is hard to see, as it has dried up over the years, thus there is less wildlife to see. From Marseilles to Ottawa the trail is still woodsy, but becomes more industrial as you are riding next to train tracks and grain silos along the river for much of it. Ottawa to Utica becomes more scenic as you start to see the St Peters sandstone cliffs at certain points. Finally from Utica to LaSalle you can see much more of this, and the trail ends with a lock with all of its functioning parts, as would have existed back in the day.

I normally ride on much more challenging, tougher and more hilly terrain with my trail bike, so this was a change of pace for me. The trail is in decent shape, but you can tell that it has not been maintained for awhile. There are bridges out in several spots (easy to get around), and fallen trees that you need to lift your bike over. All in all, I would recommend it to the casual rider, seeking an interesting history of the canal from back in the nineteenth century. Happy riding!

Hennepin Canal Parkway

A Nice Ride

September, 2017 by mcaples67

Road 60 miles (30 out and back) from trailhead at Rock River in Colona. We brought our road bikes (23mm tires), expecting paved trails. It was slow going, but certainly doable. The trail is definitely in need of repair and maintenance. It is flat, peaceful and quite beautiful. The canal history and artifacts (locks, etc) are a very interesting perk.
Fortunately we packed extra water. We had trouble finding water stops along the way. There was a fountain at the lock (14 miles from the trailhead) but it was not working in late September even though it was almost 90 degrees.

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

Not your Sunday afternoon dally...

September, 2017 by flmasterman

It was the first day of Autumn and 93° when my riding buddy and I returned to the trailhead in Winnebago in the late morning after travelling west to a private lane just short of Farwell Bridge Road and back - 19.13 miles indicated on my bike's computer.

This bike trail may not be the most scenic, and may not be a 'real' Rail-Trail, as it seems to parallel the old rail line rather than use it, but it's still better than riding the streets in town for this guy. Lots of sunshine under the sparse canopy of power lines meant lots of water consumed on this hot day.

It is paved only in short sections - in the towns/villages of Winnebago and Pecatonica, as well as in the vicinity of Highway 20, where it appears that a very large paved parking lot has been recently constructed on the north side of the road. Other than that, I would classify this as a 'fair-to-rough' hard-pack surface trail.

Some have commented negatively about the loose/sandy section. That section will certainly get a rider's attention, but this 68 year old on an eight year old, 'bottom-of-the-line' Trek Mountain Bike, rode through it without mishap, as did his younger riding partner on a Hybrid Giant bike.

This trail is definitely not for the rider that wishes to just cruise along and visit, while gawking. One must pay attention and watch for the mini-sinkholes, as well as the variations in trail surface. I am a nature lover however, and 'roughing it' has always held a very special place in my heart. This trail is what it is. If one wants a paved path, choose another. If one wishes for a little private time in nature and reap the joy and benefits that comes along with riding a bike, then this 'less than groomed' trail might be just what the doctor ordered.

I also need to point out that the signage along this trail is excellent - every public road crossing is clearly marked with road/street names and stop signs.

A quick stop at the small gazebo along the river near the fairgrounds in Pec will provide one with an interesting history of the river and the Pecatonica Grist Mill of days past.

In summary... I will be returning to this trail to see what is at Farwell Bridge Road and beyond, as well as to complete the ride to Rockford and see what's up on that end.

As stated previously, "This trail is what it is". Take it or leave it.

Find Nearby City trails

Accordion

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR