A Little Time and a Keyboard: Winter Hike into the Snow Kissed Gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Winter Hike into the Snow Kissed Gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve

Winter Hike into the Snow Kissed Gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve in Rockford, Illinois

Winter Hike into the Snow Kissed Gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve in Rockford, Illinois

In search for a unique landscape, we wandered to Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve in Rockford, Illinois last weekend. Our hike through Kishwaukee Gorge certainly did not disappoint with spectacular views up on top of the bluff down towards ravines and the river below as well from spots climbing down into a ravine.

Powdery snow dusted the forest at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve
Powdery snow dusted the forest at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve

Under the cover of a soft snow dust, the preserve sparkled in the winter sun. The snow added a little more interest to the landscape transforming the forest. The trail up on the bluff was fairly easy and gave us peeks at the ravines and Kishwaukee River coursing gently below.

Path through the winter woods at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve in Rockford, Illinois
Path through the winter woods.

Exploring the Gorge:

The trail wound us to the overlook. Stairs took us to a perch that most people will be able to navigate to. For hikers enjoying a more rugged experience, earthen stairs welcome hiking down to the ravine floor and a rocky beach along the Kishwaukee.

Snow dusting the ravine at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve.
Snow dusting the ravine.

No matter the hike you choose, views are fantastic and surely some of the best in the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. During our December visit, we found few people on the peaceful trails. However, trails were pretty muddy in spots. We took advantage of using hiking sticks during this hike and very much appreciated having them along.

Looking down the ravine to the Kishwaukee River
Looking down the ravine to the Kishwaukee River

While descending down into the ravine, we paused in sections to admire the rock outcrops through out. The sun really added to the scene highlighting natural elements with interesting hues. Towards the bottom of the ravine, we noted interesting rock layering. Snow treated us with glistening features.

Snow dusting the rocky features of the gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North.
Snow dusting the rocky features of the gorge.

Serenity Viewing the Kishwaukee River:

Eventually, made it to the rocky beach for a breathtaking view of the Kishwaukee River. The river certainly sparkled in the December sunlight!

Kishwaukee River gently coursing by.
Kishwaukee River gently coursing by.

After admiring the river, we climbed back up the gorge. We completed the loop trail back through forest and prairie. We were treated to spotting two pileated woodpeckers on our way back to our car! What a delight and a magical cap to our visit to Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve! I can tell you I am in love with this preserve! 

Winter Hike into the Snow Kissed Gorge at Kishwaukee Gorge North Forest Preserve in Rockford, Illinois




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