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USA Parks
Illinois
Northern Region
Rock Cut State Park
ROCK CUT STATE PARK
ROCK CUT STATE PARK
7318 Harlem Road
Loves Park, Illinois   61111

Phone: 815-885-3311
Reservations: 815-885-3311
Email:
Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park
'A walk with mom by the lake.'

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park
'Overlooking the Lake'
© c Photography by Moonwoman 2008

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Rock Cut State Park
'Rainbow Reflection'
© c Photography by Moonwoman 2008

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Rock Cut State Park
'Winter Wear'
© c Photography by Moonwoman 2008

website

Rock Cut State Park
'It is Spring'
© c Photography by Moonwoman 2008

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Rock Cut State Park
'Watching the Lake'

Rock Cut State Park
'Evening Clouds'

Rock Cut State Park
'Late afternoon by thr Lake'

Rock Cut State Park
'Sunset at Rock Cut'

Rock Cut State Park
'Jake at sunset.'

a subdued but beautiful sunset at Rock Cut with a good friend.

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park
'Water gun fight at Rock Cut.'

Rock Cut State Park
'A spring day on the lake.'

Rock Cut State Park
'Summers Nightfall'

Rock Cut State Park
'A spring boat ride.'

Rock Cut State Park
'Majestic Blue'
© c Photography by Moonwoman 2008

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Great Blue Heron

Rock Cut State Park
'A walk in the park'

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park
'Winter Skiing'

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.
Nature of the Area
Because water 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.
History of the Area
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, but they ceded their lands to the United States 32 years later following the Black Hawk War.

Settlement of Winnebago County Began after the Black Hawk War. The region that is now Rock Cut State Park was settled partly by Scots around Argyle - named for their Scottish home of Argyllshire - and partly by Canadians, New Yorkers and New Englanders around the town of Harlem - named for New York City's Harlem. The Illinois version of Harlem was moved in 1859 when the Kenosha-Rockford Rail Line was built. The dammed waters of Pierce Lake now cover much of the railroad bed within the park, although portions of the railroad grade are visible along Willow Creek below the spillway. But blasting operations in a rock outcrop that railroad crews conducted during the 1859 construction left lasting impressions here - they cut through rock to provide a suitable roadbed and gave Rock Cut its name.

The Park's Present:

Because water 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.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bridle Trailsyes
CampingPrimativeyes
 Electric Sitesyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
For those who want to include an overnight stay in their visit to Rock Cut, the park offers 28 Class A-Premium sites for reservation, 180 Class A-Premium sites and 60 Class B-Premium sites on a first-come first-serve basis. There is also a primitive cabin available for reservation. It has electricity, but does not have water or plumbing facilities.

Open year round, the campgrounds provide water, electricity, sanitary dump stations, showers, toilets, a boat launch and playground equipment. Only electricity and pit toilets are available in the winter season. Equestrian camping is restricted to a site on Hart Road. Groups of more than 25 persons need advance permission from the site superintendent before they can enter the park, and all campers require a permit from park personnel. Alcohol is prohibited in the campground.
Accommodation Availability Calendars
Swimming
Olson Lake Beach will be operated this summer (Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) by contract of Beachwatch Lifeguard & Lake Patrol. The Beach is open from 12:00PM to 7:00PM daily, weather permitting. Amenities include Lifeguards, sand volleyball courts, paddle boat rentals, concession items and a changing room. The cost is $3 per person. For additional information call 815/978-5560.
Boats and RVs
BeachWatch LLC - Loves Park, ILBoat Rentals
Olson Beach located by Rock Cut State Park is a 250 yard long swimming beach located in Rock Cut State Park. General admission is $3. Admission for children under 48 is $2. Boat rentals are $5 for half an hour. Concessions and sand volleyball courts are available. Swim Lessons and Junior Life guarding classes are also available. Olson Beach is open noon to 7pm daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day for the summer swim season. So come let BeachWatch LLC host your water activities in Olson Beach at Rock Cut State Park. For more information call 815-978-5560.
Web Site: beachwatch.net
1.7 miles from park*


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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. Red Oak and Puri Crest have playgrounds. Check out our newest addition, 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, For additional information call 815/885-4740.
Trails
The trail system at Rock Cut offers opportunities for hiking (40 miles), mountain biking(23 miles), and equestrian(14 miles) 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. 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.

Trail activities have been divided into "summer and winter" seasons to provide quality seasonal programs. The "summer program" (mountain biking and equestrian) trails are open April 1st - November 30th. These regulations for mountain biking and equestrian use will be strictly enforced and violators are subject to fines.

The "winter program" provides for groomed cross-country trails as conditions permit. The groomed trails are best accessed at the Lions Club Picnic Area. As a courtesy, hikers and snow shoers are asked to use other trails that have not been groomed for skiing. A winter trail guide is being developed to better describe the trails groomed for classical skiing and those groomed for freestyle/skating.

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.
Area Attractions
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. There's more winter fun - ice fishing is a great Rock Cut pastime.
Things To Do in the Area
BeachWatch LLC - Loves Park, ILWater Sports
Olson Beach located by Rock Cut State Park is a 250 yard long swimming beach located in Rock Cut State Park. General admission is $3. Admission for children under 48 is $2. Boat rentals are $5 for half an hour. Concessions and sand volleyball courts are available. Swim Lessons and Junior Life guarding classes are also available. Olson Beach is open noon to 7pm daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day for the summer swim season. So come let BeachWatch LLC host your water activities in Olson Beach at Rock Cut State Park. For more information call 815-978-5560.
Web Site: beachwatch.net
1.7 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
June 14 Very well kept park. Orderly and clean. by Jimmy C
Spacious camp sites. Beautiful setting. Will go again and again. Only draw back was a group of campers three sites down were loud talking and noisy most of the night. I still heard them after 1 AM. Felt bad for the family next to them as they had little kids. My wife and I used ear plugs.
May 30 Great for picniking and swimming.
Very nice, clean and pretty park. Lovely lake to picnic by. They have a small beach area where you can swim and I thin rent rafts. Hiking trails and many birds.
September 19 AWESOME! by ET
My boyfriend and I went overnight, it was awesome. We love the different camp areas we have to choose from and its just an awesome place. We will be returning in October.
January 25 by lpuddin graham
we live close to the park so we visit it regular. Alot of family memories. Great for family picnics. Love the paddle boats and beautifal views when visiting.
September 3 well run park
we found this park to be very clean and well run. we are making plans to return to the park in oct.
August 15 Wild turkeys every where !!!!!! by Sarah
My kids ages 11,12,8 had so much fun and they loved the wild turkeys that seemed to be every where and they love swimming and going out on a kayak for the first time and they had no problem the park was wonderful we keep going back again and again .
July 9 Amamzing
I live right by the park and go there every so often, there is always new stuff to do and see, best park ever!
July 3 Fish, Snakes!, Turltes, Awesome Spot!!! by wildmike
Love the park so much, I live in Rockford and the Harlem Rd entrance is only 2 miles from my front door! Love to fish there (both lakes are great), have caught numerous 20 inch plus Largemouths and the lake is overflowing with great sized bluegill, crappie, perch, smallmouths, northerns, muskies, walleye and every type of catfish. I also enjoy hunting for snakes, turtles, frogs and any other kind of reptile/amphibian i may find. The northern water snakes and the black rat snakes are big and mean but i have a great time catching them (both non-venomous BTW lol). I would recommend anyone from the area to visit this great family oriented large state park. Best around by far. I visit the park in the spring and summer at least three days a week and never ever have a bad time. Go there ASAP lol.
June 27 Going to this park since I was a kid
This park never gets old. I enjoy coming to Rock Cut just to get away for awhile. I like the walking paths and the lake. The area that I also like is the dam.
June 4 runners dream
i ran rockcut for 20 years before i moved out west i ran it 5 days a week, was one of my great joys of life, just beautiful!
June 4 First visit hope its not the last by jg
On vacation from England son and daughter-in-law live in Chicago took me to the park we had a great day. Every where clean and peaceful even though there were plenty of families about it was very enjoyable day out.
June 1 Our favorite park... by nana&papaof9
This park is sooo nice...lots of paths to walk on, nice beach, clean showers/bathrooms, camping sites are nice and kept mowed and clean...kid and pet friendly
October 20 perfect for picnics by DENNIS W.
great park for get to get together. love it
September 8 this park was all around great fun
So i went to this park with my 3 year old twins girlfriend and 3 other friend one who loves to bike single track as well as my self and we both loved the trails. the fishing good my kids caught thier first fish here. Nice people all around so if you go here be nice. the only thing that i would change about this place would be to have a better camping store, with more stuff for while you were camping they would make a lot of money. but other than that it was awsome
August 30
really large lake with two peires
June 21 Beach fees by Park Administration
The admission fees for the swim beach have been raised to $3.00 this year (2009).
May 26
The camp host in Plum Grove has the messiest site ever! There are tarps and junk all around the trailer. It looks like they lived there year round. It is really disgraceful! There should be more swings and playground equipment for children. The things there are old and in disrepair. Too bad - I love this park and have camped there for 40+ years.
May 12 Great For Families
My family and I have been going to this park for over twenty years, and it is always clean and inviting. There are many trails and activities for younger children, as well as adults. Different picnic areas allow for abundant space for family gatherings and birthday parties. I would reccomend a visit to anyone!
March 30 I go every year by ckkc1335
I go at least once a month. It is less than 5 miles from my house and it is very reasonable priced. What I like most is the no alcohol. People who camp here, are here for the camping not the Partying
June 4
May 22 THE MOST FUN EVER by xcheyx22
my family and I go to Rock Cut every year and we enjoy it very much. there is soo much to do in soo very little time. also on many occasions you can wake up in the morning and walk outside of your camper or tent and see a wild turkey!! what an amazing site. i think you should try camping there and you will see how much fun it is!!!


Area Campgrounds

Blackhawk Valley Campground
6540 Valley Trail Road
Rockford, IL
815-874-9767


Holiday Acres Camp Resort
7050 Epworth Road
Garden Prairie, IL
815-547-7846


Paradise Camping Resort
11122 Station Street
Garden Prairie, IL
815-597-1671


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
White Pines Inn - Mt Morris, ILCottages and Cabins
Located within White Pines Forest State Park in Northwestern Illinois, hidden away in a place that seems like time forgot, discover the historic lodge restaurant, pioneer guest cabins, delightful country gift shop, and entertaining dinner theatre.
Web Site: whitepinesinn.com
31.9 miles from park*
Savanna - Savanna, ILHotels/Motels
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
63 miles from park*
Starved Rock Lodge Conference Center - Oglesby, ILHotels/Motels
Relax in the rustic beauty and comfort of Starved Rock Lodge, Cabins and Starved Rock Inn. The historic Lodge has 69 guest rooms, which include three bay-window rooms, plus cabins nestled in the woods. Fireplaces can be found in four of the eight sunset cabins near the pool area...
Web Site: starvedrocklodge.com/
71.5 miles from park*
Area Resources
Savanna - Savanna, ILTourism
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
63 miles from park*
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Directions
I-90 West to Rockford. Take the East Riverside Blvd. Exit. Follow signs off tollway as follows: Go West on East Riverside to Perryville Road, Go North on Perryville to Hwy. 173, Go East on Hwy. 173 about 1-1/2 miles to Park Entrance.

USA Parks
Illinois
Northern Region
Rock Cut State Park
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