Year after year, thousands of nature lovers make a date to visit White Pines Forest State Park. White Pines Inn is fortunate to be located next to this natural treasure – as rich in history as it is in beauty.
Founded in 1927, the Pines is the oldest State Park in Ogle County, and the third oldest in Illinois.
The Park boasts 385 acres of rugged rock outcroppings, stunning forests, abundant wildlife, and the southernmost stand of native white pine trees in the Midwest.
Rustic conifers and finely manicured recreation grounds line the banks of Pine Creek, which meanders through the Park on its eastward journey to the Rock River.
It is a nature lover’s paradise, one that can be experienced in a myriad of ways. Whether you are interested in hiking through the forest, enjoying a picnic next to the creek, camping on your family vacation or fishing, all is possible in this cherished State Park. There are seven designated hiking trails in the Park, ranging from easy to difficult. In the winter, enjoy cross-country skiing on two of its trails. Pets are allowed in the Park but must be kept on a leash.
History of White Pines
The main project completed at the Pines was the construction of a lodge building. The logs for the lodge and restaurant are western red cedar and Douglas fir brought in from the states of Oregon and Washington on railroad flat cars. Some of the logs were so large they had to be brought in on two consecutive flat cars. The logs were unloaded at Stratford, which is two miles west of the Park, and then dragged into the Park by teams of horses.
In laying out the road system for the Park, it was felt five bridges would have to be built to place the road in desired areas. A less expensive idea was used to build the road through the creek, which is called a "ford". This unique feature has proved to be one of the most memorable for visitors to the Pines.
In the years since its formation, White Pines Forest State Park has grown into one of northern Illinois’ most popular recreation spots.
For more information on the Park and camping: 815-946-3717.