Castle Rock State Park: Scenic Views of the Rock River
Castle Rock State Park is a 2000 acre park located on the Rock River, near the small town of Oregon, Illinois. The park is well known for its’ scenic overlook on top of Castle Rock, which provides fantastic views of the river.
Castle Rock is made up of St. Peter sandstone, making it one of the few places in Illinois where sandstone actually shows up on the surface, despite its’ presence throughout the entire state.
The climb is worth it!
A short, but steep trek (100+ steps) up the Castle Rock staircase takes leads you to a scenic overlook. From here, you will be treated to amazing views of the Rock River.
Castle Rock Hiking trails
There are 7 miles of marked hiking trails within the park. The trails are short, yet scenic. You can combine a few trails together for a longer hike. On this visit, we chose to hike the Wildlife Viewing Trail and the Heather Valley Trail. Check out a few of the gorgeous pics we took along the way!
The trails are pretty easy, although there are a few small hills. We felt that we got in a moderate 4 mile workout. The best part of the hiking at Castle Rock is the quietness -there wasn’t anyone else around during our hike.
Overall Castle Rock is a great daytrip for anyone living in or visiting cities in Northern Illinois like Dixon and Rockford, as well as a longer daytrip outside of Chicago for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle for a few hours.
Other activities at Castle Rock include: picnicking, kayaking, cross country skiing, and boating.
Address: 1365 W. Castle Rd. Oregon, IL 61061. Both admission and parking are free.
*Make sure to wear long clothes. We passed by a warning sign stating that ticks were common in the area.
*Bring with plenty of water if hiking during the hot, humid summer months. Also, set out early and avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day.