Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area

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This 429 acre area is reminiscent of how northern Boone County looked prior to settlement with its White Oak, Hickory and Basswood forests.  The pine groves were planted in the 1950s.  Prairie restoration is occurring in the remaining open areas.  The spring-fed Kinnikinnick Creek winds through limestone bluffs with a large variety of native flora and fish.  In 1974 this part of the conservation area was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve.  Recreational features include 3 ½ miles of hiking trails, a 3 ½ mile horse trail, two picnic shelters, and a toboggan run.  Within the nature preserve boundaries, there is a white oak woodland teeming with spring wildflowers.

::Getting There

Kinnikinnick Creek Conservation Area is located 3.2 miles north of Route 173 on Caledonia Road. The entrance is just north of North Boone School Road.

::Natural Considerations

Prior to settlement, most of the northern section of Boone County was forested with oak savannah type forests. This area is a remnant of the natural conditions. White oak, hickory, and basswood prevail on the ridges, while willow and maple trees dominate area creek sides. In addition, pine groves planted during the 1950’s remain a dominant feature.One of the prominent natural features of the park is the spring fed Kinnikinnick Creek which winds its way through a limestone bluffed glen. In 1974, this area of the park was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. The site supports a large variety of native plants and unique fishes which help to obtain this protected status.

Woodland wildlife is abundant; barred owls, red tailed hawks, raccoon, and deer are just a few of the area residents. In addition, the area supports a healthy population of Eastern blue birds. Ideal Habitat is available for the birds, as they prefer to live on the edges between woodlands and grassy areas. Populations have been enhanced through the efforts of a local blue bird enthusiast to place and monitor nest boxes. The boxes provide nesting opportunities safe from predators for these blue gems.

::Opportunities for Fun

This area is one of the District’s most remote. Although located out of the way, a day trip to Kinnikinnick is well worth it. For those seeking a connection to nature, the area hosts 3.5 miles of trails which wind through meadows and woodlands providing wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities in the different habitats.If a group picnic is your desire, the area has picnic shelters which can be reserved. Restroom facilities are available. Kinnikinnick’s rolling hills provide grand vistas of the countryside. Its northeast hill is one of the highest points in the county. The same hill contains a toboggan run for the winter sport enthusiast. The area’s isolation provides one of the best cross country skiing opportunities in the county.

For the equestrian, the District has also opened a 3.5 mile horse trail around the perimeter.

::Activities and Facilities

Hiking trail, cross country skiing, picnicking, group shelter, drinking water, restroom, Illinois Nature Preserve. Click here to see the Horse Trail Rules and Regulations. Download the Horse Trail Brochure.