|Located in the heart
of the Rock River valley, this charming 385-acre park is the south boundary
of the old Chicago-Iowa Trail. History tells us that this was for years
the principal route east and west across the northern part of the state.
Today the park provides
the perfect recipe for family getaways. There are plenty of outdoor recreation
activities, such as hiking, fishing, camping and picnicking. With lots
of serene, picturesque beauty, and modern lodge facilities amidst a beautiful
forest, there is no better way to retreat from the everyday routine than
to re-discover yourself and your family among the open spaces at White
the meandering banks of Spring and Pine creeks, this scenic haven has
magnificent trees that share moss-covered cliffs, strung with trailing
vines. In season, colorful beds of blossoming trout lily, solomons seal,
bloodroot, blue-eyed grass, spring beauty and hepatica are everywhere.
Small mammals, including
squirrels, raccoons and chipmunks, thrive in the luxuriant undergrowth,
and the spreading branches above are filled with pine thrush, warblers
and, in winter, flocks of migratory northern birds.
Among the parks
most interesting features are the concrete fords that span the creeks,
allowing the visitor, quite literally, to drive through the flowing streams. Also, a newly added benefit for those physically challenged are four concrete sidewalks leading up to the stream bank for viewing or angling.
White Pines Forest
lies in the heart of Black Hawk Indian country and is rich in historic
accounts of the warriors who resisted the efforts of settlers to drive
them from the beloved Rock River valley. Eventually, however, the Black
Hawk War forced them out and Warrior Black Hawk himself was sent into exile
in the custody of his rival, Keokuk.
When early settlers
arrived, they found this 700-acre forest of untouched pine extending for
1/4 mile along the east bank of Pine Creek.
With a view to preserving
one of Illinois last stands of native white pines and one of the southernmost
stands of white pines in the United States, a movement was started in the
early part of the 20th Century to set the area aside as a state park.
Through efforts of Ogle County nature lovers, a bill appropriating $30,000
for purchase of land was passed by the legislature in 1903, but the measure
was vetoed. In 1927, however, they had more success, and the forest was
A perfect place for
a family outing, there are several shaded picnic areas along Pine Creek
with water, fireplaces, tables and childrens playgrounds. Of the
four shelters in these areas, two can be reserved on-line starting July 7th, 2010 using the ReserveAmerica website, and two are first-come,
first-served. Reservations will no longer be taken through the park office.
Looking to spend a night under the stars? White Pines has 103 class B/S campsites with vehicular access and a shower/flush toilet building. There are 3 electric hook-up sites which are non-reservable. There are also sites available for the physically challenged. Soft ground conditions may sometimes close campgrounds during the months of March and April. Call ahead during those times to check the status. Campsites may be reserved by visiting the ReserveAmerica website. Availability is generally not a problem aside from holiday weekends.There is an alcohol ban in the campground all year around. Camping rates are $10 a night per site. Limitations on a site are 4 adults or 1 family per site, 2 tents per site and 2 vehicles per site. Each site has a fire ring and a picnic table.
There are also youth group campgrounds available. Reservations will no longer be accepted through the park office, but are available using the ReserveAmerica website. While pets are allowed in the park you're required to have proof of current rabies vaccination with you, keep the pet leashed at all times and not to be left unattended. Excessive barking will not be allowed. It is required that firewood be purchased locally as most counties to our east fall into the quarantine areas for the non transportation of firewood outside your county due to the Emerald Ash Borer. For more information visit www.illinoisEAB.com. All laws and regulations are strictly enforced.
Whether you choose
an easy walking trail or a more difficult path, three of the seven marked
trails are less than a mile long and provide ample opportunity to see
the beautiful vine-covered limestone bluffs, blossoming spring flowers
and whispering pines. The trails have color-coded markers to aid the hiker
in orienteering. A nature trail with a limestone-screened path is accessible
for the physically challenged.
When snow covers the
ground, be sure to bring your skis, as the White Pines trails are ideal
for cross-country skiing. Two trails are available for cross-country skiing
totaling 4.5 miles of groomed trails when weather permits.
Pines Inn, originally constructed by the Civilian Conversation Corps
in the 1930s, has undergone an extensive renovation. To preserve the historic
ambiance of this wonderful log cabin inn, the original stone and timbers
were retained and the new features were carefully blended to enhance the
There are 13 one-room cabins and 3 cabins with 4 rooms, for a total of 25 guest rooms. Each cabin sleeps four people and is complete with shower, gas log fireplace, on queen bed and one trundle bed. All cabins are air-conditioned and heated, and have telephones, televisions with DVD/VCR's, refrigerator and coffee makers. The historic lounge area, which is part of the main lodge, is filled with crafts and artwork, including a gift shop that offers everything from souvenirs to truffles and jellies.
Numerous homemade delicacies are offered at the White Pines Inn Restaurant. The restaurant can accommodate up to 223 people with several meeting/banquet rooms, one that can seat up to 125. Wedding receptions, retreats, seminars and family reunions are all handled professionally and skillfully. The lodge also offers a matinee dinner theatre.
For lodge reservations, call (815) 946-3817 or write White Pines Inn,
6712 West Pines Road, Mt. Morris, IL, 61054. Website: www.whitepinesinn.com or Email the lodge at:
To reach White Pines Forest State Park from
the Chicago Area, take Route 64 (North Avenue) west to Route 2 south
in Oregon, turn left on Route 2 to Pines Road. At Pines Road, turn right
and follow the signs to the park entrance, approximately 8 miles.
From the Northwest suburbs, take I-90
west to Route 20 at Rockford. Take Route 20 west to Route 2 south. You
will go through Byron and continue to Oregon. In Oregon, continue to the
south edge of town to Pines Road. Turn right on Pines Road and follow
the signs to the Park entrance, a distance of about
From the north or south, take I-39
to the Oregon exit (Route 64). take Route 64 west to Oregon. You will
turn left at Route 2 and continue to Pines Road. Turn right on Pines Road
and go about 8 miles to the park entrance.
If you are coming from eastern or western
Illinois, take Toll Road IL RT 88 to the Dixon exit (Route 26). Take Route
26 north through Dixon to Lowell Park Road. Turn right and go about 11
miles to the stop sign which is Pines Road. Turn right on Pines Road and
go about one mile to the park entrance.
- 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.