Middle Fork Forest Preserve Trails is a 7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Penfield, Illinois that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Several trails wind through the preserve providing about 7 miles of hiking. Prairieview Trail and Midland Trail provide access to prairies. Other trails loop through the woods or follow the river. Oak Burl Trail (1.6 miles) This trail travels through a variety of habitats including an oak/hickory forest, a prairie rich with wildflowers, and a river bottomland forest. Look for the wildlife drawn to these habitats. Signs of beaver are visible along the river. Raccoons leave tracks in wet areas and live in the trees along the trail. White-trailed deer are often seen. Fisherman's Trail (.8 mile) The Middle Fork River is known for its smallmouth bass. This trail was originally established by fishermen. The Middle Fork in Vermilion county is Illinois' only designated National Wild and Scenic River. This short trail will give you a good look at the part of the Middle Fork the CCFPD manages and protects. Prairieview Trail (.8 mile) Walk through prairie grasses and wildflowers and enjoy the rolling terrain. This short trail winds through areas of tree plantings and also through areas where nature is rapidly filling in open areas with trees of its own. Sugar Creek Trail (.8 mile) This trail is a fine, short walk from the campground. It passes through former agricultural lands, restored prairie and a small wetland area frequented by herons. Midland Trail (1.4 miles) Cutting across an expanse of canary grass, this moderate trail introduces you to areas where pheasant and deer are common. Look for signs of farming that took place here until the mid-1970s. You'll see examples of succession, as trees have sprung up in old fields. South Loop (2.2 miles) This trail will take you to the southern extreme of the preserve. Hikers are treated to beautiful views of the Middle Fork River. Beaver cuttings are found on saplings along the riverbank, while deer tracks are found right on the trail.