Trip Ideas

His given Sauk name was "Ma ca tai me she kia kiak", but he was better known as "Black Hawk". Born in 1767 in the Sauk tribe village of Saukenuk — in what would later become northwestern Illinois — "Ma-ca-tai-me-she-kia-kiak," which means "Black Sparrow Hawk," would become one of the most feared, yet respected, Native American warriors. White settlers called…
Majestic American bison herd reintroduced to Nachusa Grasslands In October 2014, the Nachusa Grasslands were reintroduced to an old friend - the American bison. The Nature Conservancy, which operates the Grasslands, brought 30 bison to the preserve. In 2016, just two years later, the Nachusa Grasslands herd numbered 89 bison - 53 cows and 36 bulls. The reintroduction of the…
Deep in the heart of the rolling hills of Northwest Illinois lies the heart of Illinois wine country. Two-lane country roads guide you to small, family owned vineyards and wine shops dedicated to the wonder that is the art of crafting wine. Our local vintners bring their passion for the grape to the table for you and your friends and…
In some places, art doesn’t just happen, it’s a happening ... and in the Blackhawk Waterways region you just might be surprised with the vigor and significance of of our art scene. Since the late 1800's artists have coming out to our neck of woods to escape the city and to become inspired! Lorado Taft & the Eagle’s Next Art Colony…
Rock River -- a national treasure Just a handful of American rivers and streams earn the designation as a National Water Trail. The Rock River, which flows through the heart of the Blackhawk Waterways region, was named a National Water Trail in April 2013. “Settlers called the Rock River the ‘Hudson of the Midwest,’ and it has wildlife like you…
Northwest Territory Historic Center in Dixon, Illinois announces the opening of two new permanent exhibits. These spectacular exhibits enrich our understanding of regional Native American life and early American farming. Speaking life-like figures enrich our perception of life and the struggle to thrive in a young 19th century United States. Narrative panels fill in details about years of the Native…
If golf is your game, be sure to bring your sticks when you visit our region! Nearly 20 courses are here, waiting for your challenge.  You'll be only minutes away from 333 holes of great golf and great rates, no matter where you find yourself in our four-county region. And with many hotels and courses teaming up to offer special…
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, the Blackhawk Waterways region is the place to be! Consider this: within our four-county region, there are six state parks, preserves and wildlife areas, and a state forest . . . totaling over 14,000 acres of state-protected natural splendor! Here’s a quick rundown on what’s here:   Big Bend State Fish and Wildlife…
Maybe it’s something in the water, or maybe it’s Illinois’ warm, pragmatic nature. Four American Presidents have called Illinois their home at one time or another but one of them stands above them all in Northwest Illinois. Ronald Reagan, 40th American President, the man who helped end the Cold War, Hollywood movie star and hometown hero of the Blackhawk Waterways…
Do everything or nothing at all. The Blackhawk Waterways region, in Northwest Illinois, is filled with opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking and biking, boating and fishing, shopping and antiquing, and exploring our nation’s rich history, or just sitting in an old-growth forest and reading a book. Blackhawk Waterways is packed with history and mystery – 2,700 square miles of woodlands…
Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle will tell you that the ritual of wrapping your legs around a motor churning out raw horsepower with the wind in your hair and the sun on your back is one of the most freeing experiences known to man. Without windows and a roof riders are free to soak in the surrounding landscape from…
Watching and observing wildlife is an exciting activity, providing a sense of discovery for all ages. Whether you look at, photograph or sketch wildlife, or listen to the sounds of unseen creatures, wildlife viewing has become an increasingly popular hobby. And here in the counties of Carroll, Lee, Ogle and Whiteside, dozens of opportunities exist for quality wildlife viewing that…
FULTON, Ill. — A sunset was on the way. We knew the sun was breaking its way through after a day of clouds, wind and rain, so we couldn’t wait to head for the windmill. Just the word “windmill” is all that is needed when you breathe the name “Fulton.” “De Immigrant” is the towering icon of this town, which…
Located about 10 miles south of Oregon, near the Lee County village of Franklin Grove, you can wander nearly 3,000 acres of rolling landscape consisting of a mosaic of 11 natural community types, including dry prairie, tallgrass prairie, bur oak savanna, sand savanna, fen, sedge meadow, and streamside marsh. You’ll hear the songs of at least 90 species of breeding…