The changing leaves are beautiful in the Stateline in the fall! There are many local parks and forest preserves where you can see the red, orange, and yellow leaves in all their splendor.
In 2023, the Stateline area will be at peak fall colors between October 9 – 23 according to the Fall Foliage Prediction Map. Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Foliage Map places the peak colors in the first and second week of October. Visiting one of these parks sometime in October would guarantee a beautiful day of leaf peeping!
If You Want to Take a Beautiful Drive
Head down IL Route 2 towards Byron. On your drive, you’ll see gorgeous colors next to the beautiful Rock River.
If you’d like to take a longer drive, take Highway 20 to Galena, Illinois. The fall colors and rolling hills are a beautiful sight to see. If you think all of Illinois is flat farmland, you’ll be surprised by this scenic drive!
If You Want to Walk Around and Enjoy the Sights
1875 N. Mulford Rd., Rockford, IL
This 12 acre arboretum is free to visit and tucked in between homes and businesses on Mulford. There are many huge oak trees with giant piles of leaves kids can jump in. It’s a great place to take photos and it’s rarely busy.
Big Hill Park
1101 Big Hill Rd., Beloit, WI
Big Hill Park is a huge park on a large cliff with dramatic views. There are tons of trees and walking trails throughout the park. The kids can enjoy the upper and lower level playgrounds while you’re there.
Baltic Mill in Belvidere Park
1006 W Lincoln Ave, Belvidere, IL
Hononegah Forest Preserve
80 Hononegah Rd., Rockton, IL
Hononegah Forest Preserve is one of the oldest forest preserves in the Stateline area. Everywhere you look there are trees and gorgeous views. Kids can play at the playground after you check out the leaves.
Rock Cut State Park
7318 Harlem Rd., Loves Park, IL
Rock Cut is one of the greatest gems in the Rockford area. Not only can you see the beautiful leaves from hiking trails throughout the park, but you can also rent a paddleboat or kayak and go onto Pierce Lake to see the trees from a different perspective.
Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve
5350 Mulford Rd., and 5801 Perryville Rd., Cherry Valley, IL
Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve is one of the biggest forest preserves in the area with 630 acres. The preserve has a two mile paved path so bring your bikes when you go check out the leaves.
Sinnissippi Park and the Rock River Recreation Path
1401 N 2nd St, Rockford, IL
Sinnissippi Park is a great place to check out the changing colors. There is a toddler playground and big kid playground that you can check out while you’re there. After you’re done checking out the park, head across the street to walk to take a stroll down the Rock River Recreation Path to admire the river view and the fall colors.
11600 S County Rd H, Beloit, WI
Beckman Mill is another lovely spot with a working mill, dam, covered bridge, hiking trails, a pond, and many trees. It’s located in a 50 acre park with beautiful views. The mill is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 – 4 pm through October, but the park is accessible any time.
Anderson Japanese Gardens
318 Spring Creek Rd., Rockford, IL
Anderson Gardens is full of unique plants, beautiful streams and water features, and places to sit and enjoy the views. Anderson Gardens is open Monday through Friday from 9 am – 6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am – 5 pm. Cost is $12 per adult, $10 per kid, kids 5 and under are free. You can also stop by on September 21 and October 19, 2023 for free admission on their last donation days of the year.
2715 S. Main St., Rockford, IL
Klehm Arboretum is a massive arboretum filled with gardens and many beautiful trees. You can spend the whole day walking around. Klehm is open from 9 am – 4 pm every day. Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per kid, kids 3 and under are free. If you receive SNAP benefits such as EBT or WIC you can show your card to get into Klehm for free. You can also visit Klehm for free on October 6 – 8, 2023 during their Autumn at the Arboretum event.