Nestled in the Rock River Valley, just 3 miles south of the town of Oregon, lies a 2,291-acre wooded area that is one of Ogle County's most beautiful and historic sites. Its scenic qualities come from 120-foot bluffs along 3.5 miles of riverfront forested with hardwood and pine trees. The history stems from the individual who, in the early part of the 20th century, augmented the natural hardwood forest by planting pines - Frank O. Lowden (1961-1943) Illinois' governor from 1917-1921. he ardently embraced proper land use and strongly believed in reforestation as a way to retard soil erosion. Over several decades, an estimated 500,000 trees were seeded directly by him or under his supervision. Since 1992, the tract has been known as Lowden-Miller State Forest. But prior to that Gov. Lowden and his wife, Florence Pullam Lowden, called it Sinnissippi Forest from American Indian terms meaning "rocky river" or "troubled waters." It was part of a large and diverse farming operation that incorporated, not only native hardwoods, but pasture and sandy farmland. Because the soil was of limited use for crops. Lowden experimentally planted white pines and other tree species to see what would grow productively. The earliest plantings of white pines were here before 1910 and are believed to be the oldest in the state.

nature trips
3 months ago

Only did about a third of the trail doing a smaller loop. It is a nice trail overall, we were just cold so headed back. There are signs that alert you to the hunting that is occurring so be sure to read those just for safety. Would check it out again potentially if I was in the area for something else.

hiking
Sunday, October 08, 2017

First, this is NOT an easy hike. It should be marked as moderate. Paths are natural, not paved. There is quite a bit of elevation change for IL especially on certain paths. The highest elevations in the park are sandy ridges and can be a little like walking in dunes.

This is a pretty rustic hike- no toilets (none that I saw) and no benches or picnic areas (none that I saw). Not to mention that I didn’t see another hiker for the entire time I was out there.

Make sure to take a photo of the trail map before you start hiking. There are sooo many more paths than this app shows.

Be careful during Fall and Winter, because hunting season opens. Trails are open during bow hunting season and are closed for firearm season.

I was hoping to see more of the Rock River, but the overgrowth blocked the view. The woods are pretty. I was surprised to see how different the vegetation is in such a small area. Along the river there is a lot of traffic noise, but more inland it was quiet and peaceful.

trail running
Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mostly double track in the park. Many miles here to get a lot of training in. There are some good hills towards the middle of the park. Make sure to snap a photo with your phone of the park map, and use that to help guide you along the way. There are numbered markers throughout the park with maps on them to orient yourself. Great place.

Nice elevation changes, nice relaxing walk.

hiking
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Awesome forest!! Way cooler than lowden across town by Blackhawk. We will be spending this summer hiking the entire forest and learning every nook and cranny of it. We found an old barn/farmhouse on this trip. I can't wait to see what we find next!

hiking
Saturday, September 17, 2016

This is a great hidden gem a couple of hours outside Chicago. The terrain is really easy, but the over growth is amazing. You can completely loose yourself (not get lost, cause the trails are clearly marked) in a variety of trees and open prairie. Plus it is almost completely devoid of people, so you don't have the overwhelming feeling of no escape like Starved Rock. I have been hesitant to write this review, as I do not want the tranquility to be lost... but this is a place that has to be shared.

hiking
Monday, August 15, 2016

The kids and I enjoyed our adventures here. This place is large with picturesque pine trees that make for a beautiful canopy. Trail markers are numbered which we believed was helpful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

easy trails. not much elevation changes

hiking
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

tall pine trees,hills, bluff and cliff along the rock river this place is pretty big

hiking
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

wonderful place close to home.tall pine trees

hiking
Sunday, April 08, 2012

one of my favorite places to hike

hiking
Friday, August 25, 2017

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Friday, February 17, 2017

hiking
Saturday, December 24, 2016

hiking
Saturday, April 23, 2016

hiking
Saturday, October 06, 2012

hiking
Saturday, April 14, 2012