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JANE ADDAMS
RECREATION TRAIL

A Journey Through Time…Rich With Stories

Northwest Illinois
Between Freeport, Illinois and the Wisconsin State Line

PLEASE NOTE:  Access to the trail via the Wes Block Trailhead has changed.
To access the Wes Block Trailhead, take Illinois Highway 26 just south of its intersection with U.S. Highway 20 to Riverside Drive. Follow Riverside past the Baymont Inn and Suites, then right on Heine Road to the trailhead. The previous access off Fairview Road north of U.S. Highway 20 is now closed.

Trail Highlights

  • 12.85 miles from Wes Block Trail Access to Wisconsin state line where it connects to the Badger Trail, a 40 mile trail to Madison, Wisconsin. Note that Wisconsin charges a trail admission fee
  • 10 foot wide, level grade, crushed limestone surface
  • 21 bridges
  • Bordered by the Pecatonica River, Richland Creek and Cedar Creek
  • Travels past natural wetlands, old oak woods, grassland prairies, exposed rock embankments, several small communities and active farms

Trail access with parking, shelters, and restrooms

  • Wes Block Trail Access, 2636 W. Fairview Road; access the trail head from Illinois Highway 26 south of its intersection with U.S. Highway 20 north of Freeport (Parking, Shelter, Restroom)
  • Cedarville Road (Parking)
  • Red Oak, Red Oak Road (Parking, Portable Restroom in Summer)
  • Buena Vista, McConnell Road (Parking)
  • Richland Creek Trailhead, 101 N. Ewing Street, Orangeville (Parking, Shelter, Restroom, Water)
  • Part of the Grand Illinois Trail that traverses northern Illinois from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River

Trail Stories…Old and New

The Jane Addams Recreation Trail in Northwest Illinois is a journey through time…rich with stories.

Each journey on the trail is a new story and a new experience with the ever-changing seasonal plant life and the varied animals and birds – from the orange flash of an oriole to the white tail of a bounding deer; from the fiery crimson of the sumac to the tender green fiddleheads of the ferns in spring.

The rock layers and topographic features exposed along the trail tell the story of an environment gradually changing from an ancient shallow sea where layers of sea shell fragments and debris accumulated to form the dolomite bedrock, to the rushing glacial stream that carved our valleys.

The trail tells the story of man’s history as well, from the Native Americans, including the Winnebago Tribe who raised crops in the rich bottomland soil and fished and traveled the waterways, to the pioneer families who prospered from this fertile land, to the entrepreneurs who built the frontier’s first factories, the mills, around which villages and cities grew.

The trail’s story continues from the early stagecoaches to the railroads which created a transportation hub in this area, but which were in turn eclipsed by the automobile and our grid of improved streets and highways, to today…

The path, which has seen so much history, has been restored as a source of beauty, nature, exercise and fun.

We invite you to create your own stories as you discover the Jane Addams Trail.