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.

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
8 months ago

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.

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!

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

wonderful place close to home.tall pine trees

Sunday, April 08, 2012

one of my favorite places to hike

Friday, February 17, 2017

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012