(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

viewing platform at the top of Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park is a 2,000 acre nature preserve along the Rock River in Northern Illinois, only 3 miles south of Oregon and 30 miles south of Rockford.

Named for the majestic sandstone bluffs that lie along the river, this serene Illinois state park attracts visitors with opportunities to hike, fish, boat, camp, picnic, and bird watch.

For guests who wish to spend the night inside this rustic area, the park features primitive camping areas that are accessible by boat. For guests who wish to stay overnight in the area, the White Pines Resort in nearby White Pines State Park has rustic log cabins, a restaurant, and a large family campground.

Activities

Whether you spend a day or stay for a week, you’ll enjoy a restful visit here at Castle Rock State Park. In addition to river activities, trails, and primitive campsites, the park provides scenic picnic areas with shelters, tables, grills, drinking water, restrooms, and playgrounds to make your stay more comfortable.

Here are some of the activities that you can do during your visit to Castle Rock State Park:

Boating at Castle Rock State Park

Bring your canoe, kayak, or other small boat and spend a relaxing day on Rock River. A boat ramp with access to the river is available for guests to use inside of Castle Rock State Park.

Hiking at Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park has 6 miles of hiking trails for guests to explore the surrounding forest and prairie. Trails lead along the river, out to a small picturesque pond and up to a scenic overlook. Opportunities abound for guests to view the flora and fauna of Northern Illinois.

Here are a couple of the trails at Castle Rock State Park:

  • Oak Ridge Trail – An easy scenic 1.5 mile hike across the wildflower prairie and into the hardwoods.
  • Pond Trail – Easy 2.1 mile hike that leads through the forest, across the prairie and out to a small pond west of Rock River.

Fishing at Castle Rock State Park

Looking to enjoy a peaceful day fishing? Grab your angling gear, pick up an Illinois Fishing license and head over to Castle Rock State Park. Inside the park, and along Rock River you’ll discover 1 ½ miles of prime bank fishing where you may catch catfish, crappie, bass, and walleye. You may also fish from your boat or canoe.

Birding at Castle Rock State Park

While exploring the wilderness trails or floating down the river inside Castle Rock State Park you’ll have plenty of chances to bird watch, especially if you are quiet.

Pack your binoculars and a bird list. You may observe a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, European Starling, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Brown Thrasher, House Finch, Red-winged Blackbird, or a Red-bellied Woodpecker during your visit.

Nature and Wildlife at Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park provides guests access to the stunning sandstone cliffs that are nestled along the Rock River and surrounded by wilderness. Many species of birds, reptiles, and mammals may be discovered as you wander along the park’s trails or float along the river.

White tailed deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, foxes, raccoons, woodchucks, muskrats, opossum, and beaver may all be sighted within this serene area.

Pets at Castle Rock State Park

Well behaved pets are allowed at Castle Rock State Park. Please supervise your pet and keep them on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Camping at Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park offers a primitive camping area for guests who want to spend the night inside the park. This primitive area is only accessible by boat. A boat ramp is available within the park.

For more information about camping inside the park please call (815) 732-7329.

Camping Near Castle Rock State Park

If primitive camping is not your thing check out these nearby state parks that feature campgrounds and cabins.

Lowden State Park, located at 1411 North River Road, has 80 campsites with electric hookups, 38 non-electric campsites, a camping cabin, and 8 primitive hike-in campsites. The camping cabin has 2 sets of bunk beds and electricity.

Restrooms and hot showers are located within walking distance of campsites and the cabin. Concessions are available during the summer.

White Pines State Park, located at 6712 West Pines Road in Mt. Morris, lies within the heart of the Rock River Valley. This picturesque park features cabins, a campground, and organized youth camping areas surrounded by wilderness. The White Pines Lodge and log cabins were originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. This rustic lodge also features a restaurant, dinner theater, and a gift shop.

The 21 cozy log cabins have queen sized beds, gas fireplaces, and a TV. Two suite style cabins have king sized beds and old fashioned soaking tubs. The campground has 103 standard non-electric campsites and 3 electric campsites. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings and are near restrooms and showers.

Park Location

Castle Rock State Park
1365 W Castle Rd
Oregon, IL 61061
Phone: 815.732.7329

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Castle Rock State Park: