Learn about the best trails in the area from local hikers who participated in the Explore 20 in 2020 Challenge!

Name: Linda Niemiec 

Age: 67 

Favorite hiking spot: Kishwaukee Gorge North

Comments: It’s a hikers paradise of diverse woodlands, prairie openings and rugged ravines. Steps lead down to a peaceful opening to the Kishwaukee River. Late summer is peak bloom for diverse prairie flowers and grasses. Great for birding!




Name: Karen Williams 

Age: 55

Favorite hiking spot: Ferguson Forest Preserve

Comments: There is a lot of open ground here, so don’t go mid-day in the heat of summer like we did. Not enough shade for that. There is plenty of beautiful wetland and small wildlife to observe. Lovely views in every direction.




Name: Rebecca Sass

Age: 39

Favorite hiking spot: I wish I could pick different parts from each one and make the perfect hike! I enjoyed exploring all over the 815. This was my first year hiking and it is a new found love for me! I enjoyed the trees at Laona Forest Preserve, they were very unique. I think my favorite thus far though is Sugar River Alder. We have gone here twice and it was amazing both times.

Comments: Any time is a great time to hike anywhere, just make sure you have plenty of water (and/or snacks), bug spray, and energy!



Name: Kervin Thomas

Age: 35

Favorite hiking spot: Deer Run because it offers different length trails. You can access the trail map on Forest Preserves of Winnebago County website, I recommend doing that before heading out to any hiking spot.

Comments: Spring or Fall are best to visit. Spring for the new buds and Fall, well, for the color of the foliage. Visit in early morning to see more wildlife.


Names: David and Gretchen Stark

Ages: 54 and 21

Favorite hiking spot: Deer Run Forest Preserve

Comments: We like the variety there. You have the prairie, the woods and the river. The Bluebells are beautiful in the woods in the spring and then you have the wildflowers in the prairie in the summer. 






Name: Benjamin Sass

Age: 6

Favorite local hiking spot: Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve

Comments: Lots of bikes and very busy. Has a paved path as well as regular hiking paths. Ben picked this one because we saw a bunny (pictured) on the path and there are plenty of benches to rest when needed.


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