WHITE PINES FOREST STATE PARK
WHITE PINES FOREST STATE PARK
6712 West Pines Road
Mt. Morris, Illinois 61054
White Pines Forest State Park
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 Pines.
Along 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 red 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 park's most interesting features are the concrete fords that span the creeks, allowing the visitor, quite literally, to drive through the flowing streams.
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 Chief 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 Illinois' last stand of natural white pines and the most southern stand 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 acquired.
Looking to spend a night under the stars? White Pines State Park has 103 Class B/S campsites with vehicular access, Class C camping and, in addition, there are two youth group campgrounds. There are six campsites accessible for the physically challenged camper. Because of the nature of the terrain in this area, soft ground and high water may sometimes close campgrounds. It's a good idea to check ahead with the site superintendent's office to be sure the facilities are open. Reservations for camping are no longer being taken. Contact the park or visit the web site for more information.