Rock Cut State Park - Loves Park IL (North Illinois near Rockford)

scurvy

New member
We took Harvey out for a shakedown drive after finishing most of the bedroom reconstruction and were able to get a one-night reservation over the weekend at Rock Cut State Park: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/RockCut.aspx. It's near Rockford - home of Cheap Trick, the Anderson Japanese Gardens and just south of the ever popular Giant Can of Hormel Chili in South Beloit. As this is the unglaciated part of Illinois, it has hills and curves and all the things those of us from Chicago treat with suspicion.

There are many nice activities to do there - mostly centering around the two lakes, such as swimming, canoeing or fishing. But there's also nature trails, restored prairie, equestrian trails (currently closed), bike riding trails, a dog training center, geocaching, a playground... and tons of nature. We got there too late to do much but had a nice walk around the part of the site where we were located.

The RV sites are back-in only, very clean, with well-packed sand/dirt/gravel and 30 amp service at most sites with a few having 50 amp hookups. All the sites also appeared to have a large picnic table and a fire pit with a grill built in. There's a camp store with all the "necessities" you may have forgotten or must get locally (like firewood) and a concession stand with snacks. Keep in mind the sites on the "outside" of a curve have more nature between them and the sites on the "inside" of a curve may not have any actual separation from those next door. We were on the outside of the Staghorn loop and had nice thick woods between us and our neighbors and nothing behind us but nature.
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Harvey the RV after backing into our site. Still plenty of room for activities even with a 26' Class C.

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Our closest neighbors.

Overall this was a very nice way to spend a breezy, relatively cool Saturday evening in Northern Illinois. We checked availability on reserveamerica.com and were able to book the site easily and quickly. It was $25 for a night - $15 for the site and $10 for services. There are many water hookups around the park (although none at individual campsites) and a dual lane dump station with washdown water and a separate spigot for potable water on the way out, although one of the lanes was locked off Sunday morning. Dumpsters for trash and mixed recycling abound as well, as do restrooms and there are several with showers.

The staff is extremely friendly and helpful and the campgrounds were mostly filled with families. Things quieted down before 9 PM after it got dark and there were some surprisingly early risers who pulled up stakes as early as 7:30 the next morning. Everyone we interacted with was polite and friendly and there were many other families there with their kids - a huge cross-section of the entire population. Lots of dogs which were all leashed and generally well behaved. Next time we'll be sure to bring our bicycles as the roads are all in decent condition and many cyclists around all the time, everything from serious mountain bikers and road bikers to family groups out looking at nature.

Don't mind some distant laughter, the occasional dog bark or generalized merriment? Rock Cut should be on your list of campgrounds to check out.

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Sunset!

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Tons of butterflies and honeybees on the bee balm which grew in huge patches along the roads.

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Not actually a nature trail, but lots of dense forest to explore.
 

Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Great write up - thanks! We will look at this park as a place to go for a weekend in the future.

We've stayed on grass, sand, gravel, concrete, and even some dirt sites. We've learned that dirt, sand, and mixed soil without gravel can be a bit challenging. When the aforementioned sites are dry, they trend to track onto your outside mat and into your trailer. When they are wet or muddy, they really stick to your shoes and track.

Your site looks like it's sandy loam (I took soils in college), which also can track. Are most of the sites like yours? Do they have concrete or gravel sites? We would prefer those, as they don't track nearly as much.

Did you get any sun to try out the solar?

Do they have rental kayaks?
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
Your site looks like it's sandy loam (I took soils in college), which also can track. Are most of the sites like yours? Do they have concrete or gravel sites? We would prefer those, as they don't track nearly as much.
I did not take soils in college (nor did stay at a Holiday Inn Express) although "sandy loam" would be a much better description. It did track a bit although it was dry aside from some dew in the morning. Most of the sites are like that one although some have more grass, others have more gravel - no particular rhyme or reason, looks to be luck of the draw. Sites on the inner part of the Staghorn loop appeared to be more grass. The ADA accessible sites have large concrete pads.

Did you get any sun to try out the solar?
The batteries were fully charged when we left and I didn't have time to wire up the big inverter, so nothing to report there yet. Still need to get the 3rd panel mounted, the DC system better situated and the big inverter installed.

Do they have rental kayaks?
They rent a variety of boats, from canoes, to kayaks, to jon boats, to paddleboats and pretty much everything in between: https://rockcutstatepark.net/index.php/main-concession/rentals/
 
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Wayne

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the info. We are going to book some time there this fall. Looks like a great place to spend a weekend!
 

scurvy

New member
Thread starter
Nice, definitely let me know what you think. We may be able to get back out there this fall after our upcoming Wisconsin/Wyoming trip in a week.

FWIW, this place is near Camping World "of Rockford" (actually in Roscoe IL) and the Menards nearby in Cherry Valley IL does bulk propane fills.
 
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