A trip to picturesque
Morrison-Rockwood State Park offers many memorable experiences. A large
sign in the shape of Illinois, fashioned from angle iron by a blacksmith,
greets visitors at the entrance. Once inside, choose from a variety of
recreational opportunities. Beautiful Lake Carlton, a stream-fed reservoir,
features an abundance of ducks and geese and is considered a prime location
for fishing. Morrison-Rockwood is a popular spot for a family outing at the Lakeview picnic area or
watching birds among the hickory, ash, oak and walnut trees.
State Park is comprised of 1,164 acres, located north of Morrison in Whiteside
County. It was established in 1971 and officially opened for day
use that same year. The park is named for the city of Morrison
and a combination of nearby Rock Creek and the heavily wooded park area--Rockwood. Lake Carlton, a focal point of the park, is a watershed impoundment
constructed in 1969 by building a 38-foot high, 1,800-foot long
earthen dam across a stream. The lake was named in memory of L. Carlton
Anderson, a local citizen who actively promoted the park and was an important
civic and conservation leader. Improvements have continued to be made
in the conservation area, making it one of the most popular recreation
spots in northern Illinois.
| Shelter Reservation Form
While at the park,
be sure to visit one of the picnic areas--all equipped with tables and
outdoor stoves. Lakeview picnic area offers a beautiful view overlooking
Lake Carlton. A pavilion with a fireplace adds to the rustic atmosphere. Electricity is available for those wanting a more modern facility.
This shelter, along with the shelter at Cedar Ridge can be reserved for
large groups or family reunions.
Camping at Morrison-Rockwood
State Park is sure to delight all who love the out-of-doors. Ninety-two
camping sites are available in heavily wooded areas of the park, with 59 available for reservation through ReserveAmerica. Each
site has electricity, grill and a table. A shower building with flush
toilets is available from May 1 through October 31. A trailer dump station
is conveniently located near the campground.
Lake Carlton provides
one of the best fishing spots in Illinois. Its average depth is 12 feet,
with a maximum depth of 27 feet. It has a shoreline of 2.9 miles with
plenty of room for shore fishermen. Initial stocking of the lake was completed
in 1970 and the lake is managed to maintain a plentiful
fishing variety. Anglers may catch largemouth bass, black crappie, rock
bass, channel catfish, redear sunfish, bluegill, muskie and walleye. In
addition to shoreline fishing, nine piers are designated
The hunting area is
comprised of timber woodlots, brushy draws and fence line interspersed
with open grasslands with corn, milo and sunflower food patches. Topography
consists of gently rolling hills and several gullies some of which contain
permanent water. Hunter
A two-lane concrete
boat ramp allows easy access to Lake Carlton. Outboard motors are restricted
to 10 HP and under, and all boats with motors are to be operated under
"no wake" speeds to protect the shoreline from wave erosion.
An area is provided for private boat dockage for a small fee payable through the concessionaire.
mile nature trail is marked for hikers, and it offers many scenic views of
the lake as it winds through the park. This trail is particularly beautiful
in the spring when wildflowers are in bloom. Equestrians may use
a 14 mile trail through the park. The trail has a watering well and an
overnight camp site with shelter.
Winter sports also
are popular. Ice fishing and ice skating are permitted on Lake
Carlton when ice conditions permit. Fourteen miles of cross country ski trails will thrill skiing
enthusiasts. The rolling hills of the park make great sledding paths if
Another park amenity is a concession facility offering a vast array
of fishing tackle, boat rentals, bait sales, and a dining area that offers
breakfast, lunch and dinner or just an ice cream cone. The bait/boat rental business is open May 1st from 7:00
A.M. to Sunset through October 31st. The restaurant is open May 1st
from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. through October 31st. Marina
and Restaurant Phone Number 815/772-3613.
The park has an abundance
of wildlife. Lucky visitors may see rabbits, squirrels, quail, pheasants,
foxes, coyotes, muskrats, groundhogs or deer. Ducks and geese are seen often
swimming on the lake to the delight of visitors. Bird watchers will not
be disappointed at Morrison-Rockwood State Park. There are more than 150 species
of birds among the plentiful stands of hardwoods.
State Park can be reached from Chicago by taking the East-West Tollway
(I-88) west to IL Rte 78. Go north on Rte 78 thru Morrison and follow
the signs. On IL Rte 78 follow the signs to Damen Road. Take it to Crosby
Road about 2 miles. Turn left on Crosby Road, again following the signs,
to our entrance in about 1.5 miles.
- While groups of 25 or
more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required
to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling
- At least one responsible
adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on
leashes at all times.
- Actions by nature can
result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park
office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your
stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more information
on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community
Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
- Telecommunication Device
for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175
for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.