Birding Winnebago County

Rock Cut State Park

Location Information

The 3092 acre park has two man-made lakes - 162 acre Pierce Lake and 60 acre Olson Lake. 40 miles of hiking trails along with mountain biking and equestrian trails give access to all the habitats in the park.
Rock Cut State Park
7318 Harlem Road
Loves Park, Illinois
(815) 885-3311

Species & Habitat

Signature bird & wildlife: The largest lake in the vicinity hosts many waterfowl and gulls. Rarities, such as Ross's Geese, Long-tailed Ducks, Red-necked Grebe, Iceland Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull show up from time to time. Common Loons are found during migration. Ospreys have begun to nest in the park. Bald Eagles are frequent visitors.A large prairie restoration can be found near the north entrance to the park. An Illinois Nature Preserve is in the woods near the campground. Some of the woodlands are high quality upland hardwood forest. The trails following the stream below the dam are excellent places to find a wide variety of warblers in spring. The old hay fields in west part of the park have Orchard Orioles, Yellow-breasted Chats, Field Sparrows and a few Henslow's Sparrows.

Site Access Information

Hours of operation: The park is open everyday, except during the handicap hunt (usually late fall). Winter: November 1 - March 31: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Summer: April 1 - October 31: 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Site Restrictions: Holiday weekends can be very busy in the park with many recreational boats on the water. Campgrounds fill up well in advance of holiday weekends. Bike riders and joggers use the loop road extensively. No alcohol is allowed in the park. Pets must be leashed except in the dog training area near Olson Lake.

Site Assessment Information

Other: Boat launch, concession stand, fishing piers, many picnic areas with shelters, tables, and grills.


Other: Concession stand rents kayaks, paddle boats and bikes and sells fishing licenses and bait.

Driving Directions