Sterling, IL Birding Trails and Maps

390 Reviews

Looking for the best Birding trails around Sterling?

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

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Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type
36 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Badger State Trail

40 mi
State: WI
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Bauer Memorial Path

1.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Baumann Park Recreation Path

1.25 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Beacon Harbor Parkway Trail

1.1 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Bear River Recreation Trail

5.6 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Charles Street Community Path

2.6 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Clinton Discovery Trail

9.8 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Copper Creek Trail

0.75 mi
State: IA
Crushed Stone

Duck Creek Recreational Trail

13.5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Eldridge/Long Grove Trail

3.5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Four Sisters Bike Path

4.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Government Bridge (Arsenal Bridge)

0.3 mi
State: IA, IL
Asphalt, Metal

Great American Rail-Trail

3743.9 mi
State: DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY
Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone

Great River Trail

62.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Harrison Avenue/Mulford Road Bike Path

3.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Concrete

Hennepin Canal Parkway

104.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Grass, Gravel

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
Accordion

Kishwaukee-Kiwanis Trail

4.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Lester Matzen Bike Path

1 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Lowell Parkway Trail

3.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Lynn Boulevard/Westwood Trail

3.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Mel Anderson Memorial Path

2.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Mississippi River Trail (Riverdale to Davenport)

14.3 mi
State: IA
Asphalt, Concrete

Oregon Park East Bike Path

0.25 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail

5 mi
State: IA
Asphalt

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

14.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Perryville Path

6.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Rock Island Trail (IL)

38.2 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Rock River Recreation Path

10 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Saelens Park Trail

1 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

South Main Street Path

2.25 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Swanson Park Recreation Path

2.4 mi
State: IL
Asphalt
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 Bauer Memorial Path provides a short route through residential and commercial areas of Machesney Park, a northern suburb of Rockford. The trail begins at the Harlem Community Center and travels in...
IL 1.3 mi Asphalt
Baumann Park is adjacent to the Kishwaukee River in Cherry Valley, a community on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. A paved pathway runs through the park and loops around Baumann Park...
IL 1.25 mi Asphalt
This off-road trail parallels the Beacon Harbor Parkway in East Moline as it gradually winds north towards the Mississippi River. The trail begins on 7th Street and cuts through a lush wetland where...
IL 1.1 mi Asphalt
The Bear River Recreation Trail follows part of the Maquoketa River outside of Spragueville and Preston, through bucolic countryside of woodlands, farms and river lowlands. You can start the trail in...
IA 5.6 mi Crushed Stone
The Charles Street Community Path offers a neighborhood route through southeastern Rockford, connecting residents to CherryVale Mall on its eastern end. On its western end, Alpine Park is just north...
IL 2.6 mi Asphalt
Located in the scenic riverside city of Clinton, the Clinton Discovery Trail offers trail users a wonderful way to make the most of the city's prime location on the banks of the Mississippi River....
IA 9.8 mi Asphalt, Concrete
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 Duck Creek Recreational Trail, also known as Duck Creek Parkway Trail, traverses three riverfront cities in the Quad Cities region of eastern Iowa, offering residents the opportunity for a...
IA 13.5 mi Asphalt
Running between the rural communities of Eldridge and Long Grove to the north of Davenport, the Eldridge/Long Grove Trail provides a great recreational asset to these small, quiet suburbs. The path...
IA 3.5 mi Asphalt, Concrete
The Four Sisters Bike Path forms a horseshoe around the northern end of Rochelle, a small city south of Rockford in northern Illinois. The path connects several schools and parks, and the city has...
IL 4.3 mi Asphalt
The Government Bridge is both an engineering marvel and a significant part of US history. The predecessor to the present-day bridge was the first bridge built across the Mississippi River. Three...
IA, IL 0.3 mi Asphalt, Metal
The Great American Rail-Trail highlights some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, well-known geography and storied history across a 3,700-miles-plus route between Washington and Washington....
DC, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, MT, NE, OH, PA, WA, WV, WY 3743.9 mi Asphalt, Concrete, 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
In southeastern Rockford, a paved pathway begins at a connection with the Charles Street Community Path then heads south along Mulford Road through a residential area. At Harrison Avenue, the path...
IL 3.5 mi Asphalt, Concrete
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, Grass, Gravel
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
Accordion
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 Lester Matzen Bike Path is named in memory of an Eldridge man who is fondly remembered for collecting and restoring bicycles. The trail stretches along Le Claire Road between 1st Street and 18th...
IA 1 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 Mel Anderson Memorial Path, named for a long-serving alderman of the Seventh Ward, stretches nearly 3 miles, connecting Lockwood Park, Searls Park, Bressler Park and Talcott-Page Park. Mid-way,...
IL 2.7 mi Asphalt
The Mississippi River Trail in Scott County resembles the setting of a Mark Twain novel as it travels 13.5 miles along its namesake within sight of barges, riverboats, and marine-related businesses...
IA 14.3 mi Asphalt, Concrete
Oregon Park East Bike Path is nestled along the east bank of the Rock River in the small town of Oregon in northern Illinois. The 23-acre park offers athletic facilities, restrooms, grills, and picnic...
IL 0.25 mi Asphalt
Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail is a 5-mile pathway in Dewitt, Iowa. The trail provides safe, well-shaded access from residential neighborhoods to the 100 acre Westbrook Park. It includes a concrete...
IA 5 mi Asphalt
The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, is a 14.3-mile rail-trail extending from the western edge of Rockford to N. Farwell Bridge Road west of Pecatonica. The...
IL 14.3 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Perryville Path runs nearly 7 miles, connecting the communities of Loves Park and Rockford, not far from the northern border of Illinois. A pleasant place to begin your journey is Rock Cut State...
IL 6.7 mi Asphalt
Caution:Beginning November 15, culvert replacement on the Rock Island Trail at Chanute Road will begin.  This will involve removing the temporary bridge.  This closure will last between 4 and 6...
IL 38.2 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
The Sterling Multi-Activity Recreational Trail starts at one end at the edge of the Hoover Park parking lot and heads into a scenic wooded trail crossing a wooden bridge over Woodlawn Creek and...
IL 2 mi Asphalt
The paved trail running through Nick Saelens Memorial Park is a pretty one, with a loop around a small pond and much of it following a tree-lined creek. The park is nestled in the Village of Durand in...
IL 1 mi Asphalt
This is a newly constructed path that runs between S. Main Street and the Rock River in Rockford. It was built as part of the re-building of S. Main Street and runs from South Park south to the...
IL 2.25 mi Asphalt
Swanson Park Recreation Path is sometimes known as the Cherry Valley Path as it's located in the Village of Cherry Valley on the outskirts of Rockford in northern Illinois. The paved path travels...
IL 2.4 mi Asphalt

Now, More Than Ever, Trails Matter!

During COVID-19, trails are being counted on as places where people can find solace and respite and we need your support to keep trails open and provide these critical FREE resources! Please continue to practice physical distancing and check the status of your trail before heading out!

Trails by activity

Recent Trail Reviews

Pecatonica Prairie Trail

Pecatonica Prairie trail 11-07-2020

November, 2020 by terri.hagmann

My husband and I did the whole trail r/t Farewell Bridge Road to Meridian Road and back today. Good spots, and not as good spots. We rode it about two years ago, and it was very sandy in some spots. Those spots have course gravel in them now. We ride hybrid bikes with cross-terrain tires. It was ok, but fat tires work better on the grassy and course gravel areas. It needs some work, but was still an enjoyable scenic ride on a beautiful day.

Hennepin Canal Parkway

Oct. 27, 2020 30 year anniversary and we wanted just to get out. It was cold but endurable... We were impressed by our 2 hour round trip ride from the route 29 entrance. In better weather being the kids... Do some fishing.... Watch for animals.

November, 2020 by dra.wiersema

Oct. 27, 2020 30 year anniversary and we wanted just to get out. It was cold but endurable... We were impressed by our 2 hour round trip ride from the route 29 entrance. In better weather being the kids... Do some fishing.... Watch for animals.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

Flat, Easy Ride

October, 2020 by lisaknits2

We started at Gebhard Woods State Park. Lovely day for a fall ride. There was a big sign telling us how far to ride to Seneca or Channahan, etc. we chose to ride to Channahan: however barely a half mile down the road there was a fence and there was no way around it. So we went toward Seneca...the trail was crushed gravel and grass and narrow but easy to ride. Might be a challenge to pass for newer riders, but it was a fairly flat ride and wooded. We enjoyed the ride. We rode from the state park on the roads to downtown Morris (which was lovely) after our trail ride. Took about 5 minutes to ride there.

Accordion

Beacon Harbor Parkway Trail

Short little trail , a couple of small ponds , lighted path along road. Trail was in good shape , a couple of little bumps here and there, but was a nice little trail coming off the Great River Trail.

October, 2020 by jedwards7961

Short little trail , a couple of small ponds , lighted path along road. Trail was in good shape , a couple of little bumps here and there, but was a nice little trail coming off the Great River Trail.

Badger State Trail

Badger Trail much improved from the last several years.

October, 2020 by bikeandrun

I have had some rough riding over the years with rarely cut grass. This year the DNR has shifted gears and improved this trail a lot. The best I've rode in several years. Jane Adams hooks up to the Badger at the State line. Ruts and holes have really been worked on. And weeds cut as best as they can keep up with it. I have ridden this trail many times this year.
Excellent job, DNR. Keep it up. I have also seen more people walking, jogging and riding this and the Sugar Trails this year since I started in 1986 riding.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

This is a nice trail but blocked by fences just west of Morris at the aquaduct. You can get around the fence but it is very difficult with a bike. This was the low point of a nice ride.

September, 2020 by nardclaar

This is a nice trail but blocked by fences just west of Morris at the aquaduct. You can get around the fence but it is very difficult with a bike. This was the low point of a nice ride.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

Beautiful and empty; some stretches closed

September, 2020 by ajnicholson

Had a nice time yesterday (9/28/20) on the stretch from Morris west toward Seneca. Note however that the part just west of downtown Morris that goes over Nettle Creek is closed in both directions; you can't proceed west if you start in downtown Morris and need to detour on city streets for awhile.

If you're starting from Morris and want to go west, a better bet is to park at Gebhard State Woods (but note that you cannot head east from there, just west).

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

A quiet trail

September, 2020 by miretzkym

In our pandemic times, I stay off the overused trails in & close to Chicago.
Because of limited access points, this trail fits the bill as sparsely used.
Closer to Rockdale, the trail is a bit overgrown, and there are a few spots with loose gravel. I wanted to ride to Gebhard Woods, but did not find the trail. (People in Morris want you to see their downtown.) But that was fine - I did ride around Morris before I returned to Rockdale. This was the flattest ride I have ever done!

Duck Creek Recreational Trail

Well maintained, smooth rolling. Good for gravel or road bikes. Good variety of sites, some uphills but nothing too extreme.Overall a nice place to ride. If you're also into frisbee golf bring your disc along, several holes along the trail.

September, 2020 by rushnrun

Well maintained, smooth rolling. Good for gravel or road bikes. Good variety of sites, some uphills but nothing too extreme.Overall a nice place to ride. If you're also into frisbee golf bring your disc along, several holes along the trail.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

La Salle to Joliet

September, 2020 by urbnsurfr

Overall, this was a great trip. It's a towpath so as you expect, almost no change in elevation. Most of the trail is hardpacked gravel, with some pavement. I wouldn't recommend any portion of the trail after much rain, the trail would be too muddy (particularly between Utica and Ottawa). We were really impressed with the staff who seemed to be keeping the trail working. On Utica to LaSalle, there was a downed limb blocking the trail, but it was gone by the time we returned an hour later. Everywhere else, the trail was mostly free of litter except in some of the towns.

The western third from LaSalle to Ottawa is very scenic, with a few of canal, river, caves, flora, fauna, and sandstone cliffs. Someone created a small bridge at the washout between Utica and Ottawa. The middle third from Ottawa to Morris is not as nice, although the stops in Marseilles, Seneca, and Morris are nice. The trail in Seneca stops right next to a well kept Casey's with a clean bathroom, friendly staff, cold gatorade, and a free air compressor. Most of this segment the canal is gone and the trail is down to a small single file track, but still heavily wooded at least. Morris itself is really scenic, but you have to detour around another washed out bridge, I think the route was Ottawa to Fremont/Jefferson to Nettle. Morris to Channahon was our favorite segment, particularly around McKinley Woods and Channahon State Park. The woods and river views were beautiful and the canal waterway was in the best shape here. The section from I-55 to Rockdale was again not-so-nice, reasonably well wooded, but few amenities and not the greatest scenery.

There are few places to stop close to the trail east of Morris. Near Channahon State Park where the trail crosses US Route 6, there's a subway and gas station nearby.

Badger State Trail

We enjoyed writing on this trail as a family. The tunnels are closed, because there were rocks falling from the ceiling (We ran into one of the employees who monitors the trails).

September, 2020 by sissijojo

We enjoyed writing on this trail as a family. The tunnels are closed, because there were rocks falling from the ceiling (We ran into one of the employees who monitors the trails).

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

Skip the Lemont section

September, 2020 by campbell1970

The part through the downtown of Lemont is very nice but going west is in bad shape and east bound is gravel, not well maintained. In parts, if you had an accident they might find you for a few days. Short trail in both directions - goes no where. Skip this trail and ride the Cenntenial Trail on the other side of the river. It is a 5 star trail - Lemont is a 1 star

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