Rock Cut State Park

Quick Facts

Rock Cut State Park

Illinois

(815) 885-3311

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Chiseled out of the state's far northern region is Rock Cut State Park in Winnebego County. Nearby are other "rocky" landmarks - the mighty Rock River and the place where wagons once forded it, Rockford. It's an area of rolling plains, interesting history and recreational variety.

Two lakes set off the park's 3,092 acres. Pierce Lake, with 162 acres, is a retreat for people wanting to fish, ice fish or ice skate. A second 50-acre Olson Lake is especially for swimmers. Rounding out the park's recreational options are camping, hiking, horseback trails and cross-country skiing. Whatever the season, you can be sure there's quite a bit of activity going on at Rock Cut State Park.

The water in the area serves as a welcome mat to birds and animals, wildlife watchers to the area won't be disappointed. Birders report good viewing, with waterfowl being abundant. Deer, fox, muskrat, woodchuck and beaver inhabit Rock Cut State Park as do opossum, raccoon and both gray and fox squirrel. Over 100 types of wildflowers offer a showy display each spring and summer, while the hardwood trees dazzle you with their reds and golds every fall.

Map of Rock Cut (IL)

Latitude, Longitude: 42.354708, -88.986573

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Activities

  • Boating

    Pierce Lake will allow any size engine on the lake, however, engines over 10 hp can operate at No Wake speed only. Carry on watercraft and electric motors only. Paddle & Trail Bait Shop is open at Pierce Lake with canoe, kayak and boat rentals. Pierce lake also has docks and two launching ramps available, for more information and prices, please call 815/885-4740.

  • Bicycling

    The trail system at Rock Cut offers opportunities for mountain biking with 23 miles of trails and has been completely remarked. Trail users will find updated trail head/information signs at picnic areas and trail access points for trail information and regulations. Only certain trails are designated for mountain biking and equestrian use and are identified by colored trail markers. Blue trails are for mountain biking and hiking, yellow trails are for equestrian and hiking and red trails are restricted to hiking only. Trails are open April 1st - November 30th. Regulations for mountain biking use will be strictly enforced and violators are subject to fines.

    Rock Cut also offers access (at the Pierce Lake spillway) to the Willow Creek Bike Trail and Perryville Path, a paved trail system connecting the local communities of Loves Park and Rockford to Rock Cut State Park.

  • Camping

    For those who want to include an overnight stay in their visit to Rock Cut, the campgrounds provide electricity at the site, water hydrants at the beginning of each camping loop, sanitary dump stations, showers, toilets, a boat launch and playground equipment. There are 210 Class A Premium sites and 60 Class B/S Premium sites. There is also a primitive cabin, it has electircy, but does not have water or bpumbing facilites. From November - April, only electricity an dpit toilets are available. Equestrian camping is restricted to a site on Hart Road, is only available on a first come, first serve basis and the Ranger will collect the fee at your site in the evening. Rock Cut is an Alcohol Free park and campground, this rule is strictly enforced.

    Reservations can only be made at www.reserveamerica.com, beginning July 7th, 2010. The Park Office no longer accepts reservations.

  • Fishing

    One of the park's most popular activities is fishing Pierce Lake - named for state Rep. William Pierce of Rockford, who served in the legislature from 1951-1966 and who proposed the first land acquisition for the park in 1955. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish, as well as bullhead, northern pike, muskellunge and walleye. Paddle & Trail Bait Shop is open at Pierce Lake and has various types of bait available, for more information and prices, please call 815/885-4740. Olson Lake also offers excellent fishing.

  • Hiking

    The trail system at Rock Cut offers opportunities for hiking with 40 miles of trails and has been completely remarked. Trail users will find updated trail head/information signs at picnic areas and trail access points for trail information and regulations. Only certain trails are designated for mountain biking and equestrian use and are identified by colored trail markers. Blue trails are for mountain biking and hiking, yellow trails are for equestrian and hiking and red trails are restricted to hiking only. Trails are open April 1st - November 30th.

    Rock Cut also offers access (at the Pierce Lake spillway) to the Willow Creek Bike Trail and Perryville Path, a paved trail system connecting the local communities of Loves Park and Rockford to Rock Cut State Park.

  • Historic Sites

    By the middle of the 17th century, Miami-speaking tribes of Native Americans entered the region of Rock Cut State Park after the Iroquois drove them from territory on the southern end of Lake Michigan. From about 1655 until 1735, the Rock River was within the range of the Mascouten, who were also pushed westward by the Iroquois. The Winnebago ranged southward from Wisconsin to the Rock River from the 1740s until 1837, while the river's upper portion was on the periphery of the Fox and Sauk territory from about 1765 to 1833. By 1800, the Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa nations had extended their range into the area, please contact the park for more information on historical sites.

  • Horseback Riding

    The trail system at Rock Cut offers opportunities for equestrians with 14 miles of trails and has been completely remarked. Trail users will find updated trail head/information signs at picnic areas and trail access points for trail information and regulations. Only certain trails are designated for mountain biking and equestrian use and are identified by colored trail markers. Blue trails are for mountain biking and hiking, yellow trails are for equestrian and hiking and red trails are restricted to hiking only. Trails are open April 1st - November 30th. Regulations for equestrian use will be strictly enforced and violators are subject to fines. Sorry, Rock Cut does not have horse rentals or stables at the site. Lockwood Park located in the Rockford area has horse rentals and is approximately 10 miles from the park.

  • Hunting

    The hunting program allows disabled hunters an opportunity to participate in a Department of Natural Resources program for managing the deer herd and turkey populations at Rock Cut State Park.

  • Picnicking

    Knowing that a visit to a state park is more fun when there's food to be enjoyed, Rock Cut has picnic areas scattered throughout the park, each is complete with tables, outdoor stoves, and pit toilets. For larger groups up to 50 people the site has five shelters that may be reserved beginning July 7th, 2010 at www.reserveamerica.com.

  • RVing

    There are 210 Class A Premium sites.

  • Water Sports

    Olson Lake Beach is operated in the summer (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) by contract of Beachwatch Lifeguard & Lake Patrol. The Beach is open daily, weather permitting. Amenities include Lifeguards, sand volleyball courts, paddle boat rentals, concession items and a changing room.

  • Winter Sports

    Take to the trails in the winter. A winding system of cross-country ski trails lets you take in the park's winter beauty.

Park Partners

Lone Rock Cafe

Features wireless internet, a variety of food items and drinks including smoothies and blended coffees. They are open May - October 7a - 7p daily

(815) 885-4740

Directions

Driving

I-90 West to Rockford. Take the Highway 173 Exit. Go West for one-half mile to the Park Entrance.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(815) 885-3311

Links