White Pines Forest State Park
Address: 6712 West Pines Rd., Mt. Morris IL 61054
Time from Chicago: 2 hours (108 miles)
Camping at White Pines Forest State Park
White Pines Forest State Park offers car camping in north central Illinois, south of Rockford. The park sits in the Rock River Valley in Ogle County and houses 103 campsites, which are listed at $10 each on the park’s website. The campground has a shower building with flush toilets. Overall, it’s a pretty basic car camping site.
Three electric hookup sites are first-come, first-serve, but most other sites can be reserved in advance. The site’s website says, “Availability is generally not a problem, aside from holiday weekends.”
As for hiking opportunities, White Pines has seven trails, three of which are very short – less than a mile long. The park’s official site tries to lure visitors with the promise of “vine-covered limestone bluffs, blossoming spring flowers and whispering pines.”
The park includes Spring and Pine creeks, which run through cliffs with vines and moss around alongside. Guests often visit White Pines for short day trips to hike, fish or picnic.
White Pines Forest State Park has an interesting history. Black Hawk Indians used to live on the land before settlers arrived. Way back in 1903, local residents began lobbying for the forest to become an Illinois state park, but the governor thought the $300,000 price tag was too high and vetoed the bill. Finally, in 1927 the state acquired the land.