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.

Trail Highlights

  • 17 miles from Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead in downtown Freeport 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
  • 4.1 miles asphalt paved path from Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead to Wes Block Trailhead with two short sections of no-road bike lanes. 10 foot wide, level grade, crushed limestone surface from Wes Block Trailhead to Wisconsin state line.
  • 22 bridges including the historic Van Buren Bridge across the Pecatonica River, erected in 1885, and a Covered Bridge outside of Orangeville
  • Bordered by the Pecatonica River, Richland Creek and Cedar Creek
  • Travels through historic downtown Freeport, the Old River School Historic District Neighborhood, and past natural wetlands, old oak woods, grassland prairies, exposed rock embankments, active farms, and several small communities as well as the Village of Orangeville
  • Part of the Grand Illinois Trail that traverses northern Illinois from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River

Trailheads and Parking Access to the trail is available at:

  • Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead 250 E. Stephenson Street, Freeport. On the banks of the Pecatonica River. Parking, Information, Boat Access, Wes Robinson Memorial Garden (Shelter, Restrooms and other amenities under development)
  • Wes Block Trail Access 2636 W. Fairview Road, Freeport. Exit off Illinois Highway 26, 1/4 mile south of the U.S. Highway 20 intersection to Riverside Drive. Follow Riverside past the Baymont Inn and Suites, then right on Heine Road to the trailhead. Parking, Shelter, Restroom
  • Cedarville Road 2875 W. Cedarville Road, Freeport. West of Village of Cedarville. Parking 1/8 mile west of Trail, Wayside on Trail
  • Red Oak Beaver Road off 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