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We tent camped in the East loop - site 606. Even though this site is right beside the bathroom, it was surprisingly private. The campground was kind of noisy on a weekend night in August, but overall it was a nice campground with few amenities. There is a trail from the east loop to access the Ice Age Trail.
Just outside of the sprawling metropolitan area of Rockford, Illinois, the recreational oasis of Rock Cut State Park awaits. With miles of walking, hiking, biking, and even some intermediate mountain biking single track around a damned lake, there is plenty for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy.
The campsites offer a spacious escape from the city, with the usual amenities of fire ring and picnic table, but most had long paved driveways and electrical hook-ups to boot. But our site had plenty of sun, so we were able to run on solar and not worry about the hookups.
The bathrooms appeared to have full-flush facilities with hot showers, however these were not open in November when we arrived. Instead, pit toilets (fairly clean) were available for use. The park and one loop of the campground remains open year-round, however the water and facilities with plumbing shut down at the end of October.
All of the trails double as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing areas as well, so don’t think of this as just a summer time getaway. We experienced one of the best late fall summers ever in November, 70 degrees during the day and cool at night. It was perfect, and while the place was full over the weekend, it never felt too crowded.
Just outside of the park boundary the suburban sprawl encroaches, so gas, ice, and groceries couldn’t be any more convenient. The winding park roads help slow things down and make it feel like you’ve wandered into a little slice of the wild on the edge of the prairie.
Driving on country roads to this campground, I drove past many many horse ranches. So it's no surprise that there is a dedicated campground for horseback riding in this state park.
Built for Large Gatherings
There are a number of COVID-era regulations that as of this writing are in place, see photos of the signs posted. This campground is clearly built for large groups to hang out together. There is a large shelter with picnic tables and very convenient roll-up sides that can be used to protect people during inclement weather. There is also a large grill that would be great for serving many, and a very nice fire pit with fixed seating for a large group.
There are also nice touches, such as a small stair-step for beginners or young people to mount their horse. And the campground has a little free library. There are electric and non-electric campsites, all seem to have a picnic table and fireplace. There are ample places to bridle horses and shared corrals every four or five campsites. There are also animal waste collection areas throughout the campground. There are several pit toilets throughout the campground, and one building with flush toilets and showers. It's a very nice and fairly new building.
The group campsite has six sites and they are not pull through for trailers. There is a fire pit with fixed seating around it centrally-located in the group campsite. The group campsite does not have electric units.
And no surprise, there is easy access to horse trails throughout the state forest.
My Top Picks
There are several sites along one side of the park that are a little more secluded and in a pine forest. They have picnic tables and fire pits like the others, they include 409, 410, 411, 412, 413. There's also a series of pull-through sites that would make it easier for those who don't care to back trailers in or out of the site. These include electric sites 405, 404, 403, 402, and 401.
There's a nice couple of campsites at the end of one of the loops that affords a little bit of privacy, the only problem is they abut the main road and are a little noisy with car traffic. However, they are sweet sites. They include 427 and 428. Unfortunately, they camping here you would hear all of the car traffic while all the other campsites are much further away from the road.
We haven’t been camping to this campground in a while so maybe things have changed but the last time we were there we were bitten by flies the entire weekend. It was absolutely horrible. Aside from that we do enjoy going to the beach but there are more rocks than there is sand.
Love going to this campground. Always nice and clean. Bath/showers are very clean with hot water. Nicely kept grounds with a beautiful lake for dock and boat fishing. You can rent boats and they have a nice camping store. Downside, not too many other things to do. Long drive to get into town and not much there but a gas station and grocery store.
There is so much to do at this campground. Horseback riding, archery, hiking, boating, fishing. There is also a park for the kids in several areas. Not far from town in case you need to go to the store and there is also a bait/shop store on premises. You can rent boats and kayaks too! The bathrooms/showers are always clean and have hot water. The only downfall that I can see is that they are not consistent with cleaning the outhouses.