Stark, Marshall, Woodford County Field Guide


Discover Peoria


Stark County has recreational areas to get you out of doors and into nature. From hiking to bird watching, outdoor activities abound. Plan ahead to book campsites, secure fishing and hunting licenses, and map your route. You'll want to get out and stay out with so many trails, streams, and paths to explore! Be sure to bring your binoculars, fill your water bottles, and lace up your sturdiest footwear for those roads less traveled. Now, get out there!

Stark County

Bradford Pheasant Habitat Area  {Bradford}   //   Explore 103 huntable acres of native grasses and forbs, nestled along agricultural fields. Deer, turkey, waterfowl, squirrels and rabbits, upland birds, and furbearers.

Camp Grove Rest Area  {Wyoming}   //   A humble little picnic spot along Illinois Route 40. Enjoy this 14-acre wayside and visit the historic 1929 Pony Truss Steel Bridge over Senachwine Creek.

Duryea Park  {Wyoming}   //  Duryea Park is a humble playground at the corner of North Madison and East Williams Street in Wyoming, Illinois. With lots of open grass space, this small city park on the edge of a small town is a great place to grill out and have a picnic. Host a pick-up baseball game, or just let the kids run wild on the playground.

Fuertges Park  {Bradford}   //   This beautiful little pocket park is in the heart of downtown Bradford. It’s a great place to sit on a bench and enjoy a hot coffee and great conversation with friends.

Hodges Park  {Bradford}   //   A recreation lover's dream, Hodges Park features a playground, basketball court, and picnic area. Historic memorials are sprinkled around the grounds, and open grass space coupled with plenty of trees equals a delightful place to stretch out and enjoy the day.

Lafayette Park District  {Lafayette}   //   This small city park at the edge of Layfayette is the seat of the park district and serves as a recreation building for the community.

Rock Island State Trail {Wyoming, Toulon}   //   Stretching 26 miles from Alta to Toulon, the Rock Island State Trail is a mecca for Illinois Adventurers. Open year-round from sunrise to sunset–hikers, bikers, and cross-country skiers have comed through every inch of this trail.  Park and relax on one of the many benches lining the trail, have a snack at the picnic shelters, and pitch your tent at the camping area at Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area–which is not accessible by vehicle. The Rock Island Trail adjoins the Rock Island Greenway at Alta and continues through Peoria. Rock Island State Trail was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2003.

Thomas Park  {Wyoming}   //   This small city park in the heart of small-town Wyoming has a playground and a basketball court. Sheltered areas, picnic tables, and open grass space make Thomas Park an idyllic scene for an al fresco meal.

Toulon City Park  {Toulon}   //   Nestled in the heart of downtown Toulon, this small park sits across from Lucy Dot’s Little Bakery Shoppe and is an ideal place to plop down on a bench and enjoy a sweet treat.

Village of Lafayette Park  {Lafayette}   //   Children love running around the Lafayette Park playground. There’s plenty of shade to enjoy in this charming picnic area under the Lafayette water tower.

Marshall County

Cameron-Billsbach National Wildlife Refuge  {Henry}   //   Cameron Billsback National Wildlife Refuge is an 1823-acre inviolate sanctuary for migratory birds and is accessible only by boat from the Illinois River. The Cameron unit sits on the west side of the river, and the Billsbach unit to the east. Both are divisions of the Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuse and part of the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges Complex.

Coal Miners Memorial Park  {Wenona}   //   Coal Miners Memorial Park sits on the edge of the small town of Wenona. It’s a quick and beautiful hike up and down the hill, with views of farmland, the windmill, open space, and the city below. Catch your breath at the informational plaques at the base and summit for inspiration and to understand the unique history of the Jumbo Jaunt.

Greater Peoria Canoe + Kayak Trail {Henry, Lacon, Chillicothe, Peoria Heights, East Peoria, Creve Coeur, Pekin}   //   This water trail of 11 stops on the Illinois River stretches approximately 43 river miles. This trail runs through Marshall, Woodford, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Paddle or fish, and take in the views from any of the park benches marking each stop.  Be cautious of the Peoria Lock and Dam between stops at the Don Burch Boat Dock in Creve Coeur and the Pekin Riverfront. Please contact the Peoria Lock and Dam for more information.

Henry Marina + Riverfront Park {Henry} // This small city marina and park can be found along the river in the small town of Henry. Fish, paddle along the river, or let the kids run around the local playground.

Hopewell Hill Prairies + Fern Ridge Nature Preserves  {Hopewell}   //   Extensive hiking is not allowed at this preserve, as there is no designated trail system. Visitors should birdwatch and view areas only from the ridgetops, taking care to stay close to the roads where most features can be seen.

Lacon Marina  {Lacon}   //   Adjacent to Weber Park, the Lacon Marina is a stop along the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail and a known birding hotspot. The marina is a great place to fish, take your dog for a walk, or see what different types of birds you can spy.

Marshall State Fish + Wildlife Area  {Chillicothe, Lacon, Sparland}   //   6000-acre park sprawled across half land and half water spans the Illinois River and stretches for almost 10 miles. This site has trails to explore and is a stop along the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak trail. Camping options include tent and RV campground and island canoe camping when waterfowl is not in season. 

Toluca Coal Mine Preservation Park  {Toluca}   //   Catch and release fishing, trails to hike, and hills to sled down are just some of the activities Toluca Coal Mine Preservation Park has to offer. This multi-use city park on the edge of Toluca is a great destination for thrill seekers determined to reach the top of Jumbo Jaunt, where they’re sure to enjoy bragging rights and unbeatable views.

Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve  {Henry}   //   This 22-acre nature preserve in rural Henry has trails to hike and wildlife to spy, teaming with forest, hills, prairie, and pond views.

Waterworks Park {Henry} // Waterworks Park is the Northernmost stop on the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail. This city park in the small town of Henry is located along the Illinois River. Visitors can fish and paddle, and kids can let out some energy on the onsite playscape.

Weber Park  {Lacon}   //   Weber Park is adjacent to Lacon Marina, a Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail stop. The park is dog friendly, with paved trails along the river, playground, and picnic areas.

Wenona Pond  {Wenona}   //   Hike or fish around Wenona Pond at this nearly 7-acre city of Wenona Park.

Whitefield Pheasant Habitat Area  {Henry}   //   Whitefield Pheasant Habitat Area is a 118-acre state habitat near rural farmland, making it a great place to hike and hunt. Hunting dogs are only allowed during hunting season, in the months of November and December. All prospective visitors should check hunting information on the IL DNR website and always practice safety.

Woodford County

Black Partridge Park  {Metamora}   //   The jewel of Metamora Park District, Black Partridge Park is beautiful and well-maintained with something for everyone. Explore 450 acres of trails, bridged creeks, hills, and stunning greenery. Even on a warm day, the shade from grandiose old trees makes for a comfortable and exciting hike. The park has playground equipment, pavilions, sports fields, and an extensive hiking and mountain bike trail system.

Chinquapin Bluffs Land + Water Reserve  {Carlock}   //   Chinquapin Bluffs is a naturalist’s dream and an ecological cornerstone of Woodford County. The Reserve sprawls 765 acres, spanning both sides of the Mackinaw River. Two miles of river wind through the park, ideal for launching a canoe, spotting wildlife, or tackling an epic fish. Paddlers are welcome to use the ParkLands’ Sam Leman Canoe Launch to access the Mackinaw River. 

El Paso Bike Trail + Walking Path  {El Paso}   //   A 5.4-mile walking and bike trail with a crushed stone path through the heart of small town El Paso. Leashed dogs are welcome here. See if you can find the East Branch Panther Creek or the lake at South Pointe Park.

Grant Ireland Memorial Park  {Washburn}   //   Relax, play, and grow at this delightful Washburn park. There’s a playground for the kids to run around, and sports fields and courts for the more athletically inclined. This multi-use park in the heart of small town Washburn is a beautiful and well-kept park bisected by Snag Creek.

Greater Peoria Canoe + Kayak Trail   {Henry, Lacon, Chillicothe, Peoria Heights, East Peoria, Creve Coeur, Pekin}   //   This water trail of 11 stops on the Illinois River stretches approximately 43 river miles. This trail runs through Marshall, Woodford, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Paddle or fish, and take in the views from any of the park benches marking each stop.  Be cautious of the Peoria Lock and Dam between stops at the Don Burch Boat Dock in Creve Coeur and the Pekin Riverfront. Please contact the Peoria Lock and Dam for more information.

Hayes Woods Nature Preserve  {Secor}   //   A 70-acre nature preserve with views of the Mackinaw River. This preserve borders the Kenyon-Baller Woods Nature Preserve, Ridgetop Hill Prairie Preserve, and Letcher Basin Land and Water Reserve. Take a hike and try to spot tiny woodland creatures, or count the vibrant colors as they change from season to season.

Kenyon-Baller Woods Nature Preserve  {Secor}   //   Kenyon Baller Woods is a 178-acre nature preserve in a rural area, at the Mackinaw River and Panther Creek confluence. The trails are wide and mowed, perfect for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and enjoying the sun.  

Lake Eureka Park  {Eureka}   //   This 240-acre park includes a 36-acre lake on the edge of small town Eureka. Lake Eureka Park is a hotspot for animal lovers, with a dog park nearby and plenty of birdwatching opportunities. Paddle and fish on Eureka Lake, or practice your game at various sports fields, disc golf courses, and tennis courts.

Letcher Basin Land + Water Reserve  {Secor}   //   Trails for hiking and water for paddling: Letcher Basin encompasses 260 acres of land and water reserve nestled along miles of the Mackinaw River. Enjoy all the terrain Illinois has to offer, with forest, hills, prairie, and river views. Launch your canoe at the Jim Fenis Canoe Launch and Wyatt’s Ford.

Mackinaw River Canoe Club Launch  {Carlock}   //   This water access point is a great space to disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in nature. Fish or paddle your canoe or spend a day with your pup, the Mackinaw River Canoe Club is dog friendly.

New Millennia Park  {Minonk}   //   This multi-use park on the edge of small town Minonk is part of the Coal Miners Trail. Cool off at the mining-themed splash park, or challenge your friends at the inline hockey rink. Plenty of activities for the more athletically inclined include a skateboard park, exercise equipment, playgrounds, and sports fields. Animal lovers rejoice, this park is dog friendly and a birding hotspot.

Ridgetop Hill Prairie Nature Preserve  {Secor}   //   Be careful to avoid stepping on sensitive vegetation; there are no formal trails at this park. Awarded the Illinois Nature Preserve designation, this park is a rare example of prairie habitat. What the park may lack in size, it more than makes up with stunning views and habitat. Don’t miss the truly beautiful views of the ridge overlooking the Mackinaw River.

South Pointe Park {El Paso} // South Pointe Park has 40 acres to enjoy on the edge of small town El Paso and serves as the trailhead for the El Paso Walking Trail. This park offers a variety of facilities, including a baseball diamond and basketball courts, a fishing pond, two horseshoe pits, a frisbee golf course, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The park also has sand volleyball, softball diamonds, and four tennis courts.

Spring Bay Fen Nature Preserve  {Spring Bay}   //   Spring Bay Fen is a threatened nature preserve. This unique and rare ecotype is 31 acres of bog-like terrain along the Illinois River and a birding hotspot.

Spring Bay Park  {Spring Bay}   //   Spring Bay Park is a city park and birding hotspot along the Illinois River. There is no boat ramp access, but the river is a short walk from the parking area. Paddle and fish, get exercise on the sports field, bounce around on the playground, or post up on a bench and see what wildlife you’ll spot at this dog-friendly park.

Woodford State Fish + Wildlife Area  {Lowpoint}   //   As the jewel of Woodford County outdoor adventuring, this park has it all. Discover a multi-use 2900-acre wildlife refuge on the east side of the Illinois River, including 2462-acres of water. This beautiful area has magnificent baldy cypress trees, seasonal hiking trails, snowshoe and cross-country skiing, and tent and RV camping. All prospective visitors interested in hunting should check the Illinois DNR website for guidelines. This park is a stop on the Miles C. Haunter Interpretive Trail and the Greater Peoria Canoe and Kayak Trail.

Discover Peoria

Discover Peoria, IL