Be a Trailblazer
All in Stephenson County
- someone who takes the time to adventure, make memories that are only their own, and finds ingenuity in each experience
- someone who finds all there is to offer in Stephenson County.
What unique sites are waiting to be discovered? Forge your own path to places off the normal monotony of the highway routine — explore and marvel at the beauty and opportunity of Freeport and Stephenson County.
Hiking & Biking
Families and visitors rave about the 50-plus miles of hiking and biking trails throughout the countryside. Pick your path and your challenge level and enjoy the views!
Pecatonica Prairie Trail
The Pecatonica Prairie Trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, has been in operation since the mid-1970s and offers year-round access to hikers, bikers, and even cross-country skiers. Beginning at Tutty’s Crossing near Freeport and meandering east to Rockford through wetlands, remnant prairies, and meadows, travelers on the Pecatonica Prairie Trail will experience 32 bridge structures on a 10-foot wide, level grade, limestone path with asphalt surfaces in Pecatonica, Winnebago, Sumner Park, and the Sherman Underpass.
Jane Addams Trail
The Jane Addams Trail offers a flat, 17-mile, paved and compact-aggregate surface perfect for low-intensity, high-volume walking and biking excursions.
Badger State Trail
If you want to take your performance to the next level, continue north into Wisconsin on the Badger State Trail, accessible from the Jane Addams Trail. Trailheads at Tutty’s Crossing in downtown Freeport, Wes Block along the frontage of Highway 20, and in Orangeville offer maps and mileage locations to help you plan your route.
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park
Just north of Lena, Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park offers equine and hiking trails that are mowed and maintained for easy access. The trails offer gorgeous views of the park’s on-site lake, adjacent farm fields, and varying topography. Enjoy the amenities offered in the park and book a campsite for your tent or RV to make a weekend of outdoor splendor.
Oakdale Nature Preserve
Oakdale Nature Preserve offers year-round opportunities for those looking for leisurely or more-intense exercise. Located just three miles south of Freeport on Baileyville Road, Oakdale Nature Preserve offers 133 acres and more than four miles of trails through forests and restored prairies and over streams. This wooded wonderland has many new amenities including a spacious picnic shelter, a nature-based playground, and trail enhancements and wayfinding signage. Fat-tire bikes especially love the varied terrain and cross-country skis and snowshoes for the winter months!
Krape Park, Hideaway Park, Evangeline Forest Walk, and Dakota Nature Trail
Krape Park in Freeport, Hideaway Park in rural Pearl City, Evangeline Forest Walk in Davis, and Dakota Nature Trail in Dakota also offer trails up to one mile in length for a short stroll or low-impact outing.
If water trails are more your style, Freeport and Stephenson County can accommodate! The Pecatonica River meanders for 30 miles through Stephenson County from Winslow through downtown Freeport at Tutty’s Crossing, before heading east to Atten’s Landing. New ramps were installed in late 2021 with a kayak launch at the Wes Block Trailhead, accessible from Heine Road, making it the perfect berth for your trail voyage.
If you feel like a more relaxing trip down the Pecatonica River, drifting away on a leisurely float trip is a brand-new way to experience the beauty of Northern Illinois. Port Tubing provides transportation from dock to dock along with special offers and local restaurants.
Yellow Creek is accessible from Krape Park with shaded scenery and limestone caves to explore. From the park, launch your own vessel or rent a paddle boat from park staff during summer months for a family adventure or quiet rendezvous.