IL - Morrison Rockwood State Park

Discussion in 'Illinois' started by Runamuck, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. Runamuck

    Runamuck New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    We've lived in IL for almost a decade now and generally speaking haven't been too thrilled with the state parks here. Most within 2 hours of Chicago are very crowded on the weekends, and those that aren't are of the 'wide open spaces' variety where you feel more like you are camping in a giant field than the woods.

    But our first year here, we discovered Morrison Rockwood State Park in Morrison, IL, about 2 hours due West on I-88 from Naperville. This place was literally made for Pop-Up camping. Most sites are heavily wooded, with a good stand of trees between you and your neighbors and the park itself is usually very well maintained. The showers are camp showers, of course, but they do a good job of cleaning them every morning so I usually grab mine right after the cleaning crew leaves. There is a lake at the park (Lake Carlton) and a small marina that sells bait and rents paddle boats, canoe's and small jon-boats with even smaller motors. There are also several piers scattered around the lake where you can walk out and do some great fishing from the shore without needing a boat. I've caught several keeper-sized largemouthed bass and even more crappie and bluegill. There are also Muskies in the lake but I've never caught one personally. And if you don't want to completely rough it, there's also a very nice little restaurant at the marina as well, including a small ice-cream stand.

    We've personally camped at over 20 Illinois State Parks in the Northern and NorthWestern part of the state, all the way between Bloomington (Weldon Springs), up to Mississippi Palisades and over to Illinois State Beach park near Zion. Morrison/Rockwood is hands-down our favorite every spring, summer and fall. We really think its one of Illinois' best-kept secrets for popup camping.
     
  2. Melissa71

    Melissa71 New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Thank you so much for posting this. My husband and I were trying to decide on where to go camping. We went to one DNR campground near Kanakakee and weren't impressed. Are they usually pretty crowded?
     
  3. Runamuck

    Runamuck New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    I've only found them completely full on holiday weekends, which we usually avoid. Otherwise, as long as you are there by about mid-afternoon on Friday you shouldn't have any issues finding a space.

    There are 3 main "loops" in the campground. The campground itself is at the end of the park...you'll drive past the park offices, across the dam at one end of Lake Carlton, past the marina and even past an extremely well-maintained private RC airplane airfield.....they welcome visitors if you just want to come watch (but mind their rules!). My son and I often bike ride up there just to see all the different planes people build and fly.

    At the end of the park, you'll enter the campground, a short heavily wooded road. Your first left takes you around the oldest loop. These sites are the closest together and best for large groups of people who want to camp together. They aren't our preferred sites. The second left will take you around the "shower house" loop and this is the quietest and (in our opinion) best loop as the campground host also lives here so people mind their P's and Q's after hours. The second site on the left when you turn down this loop is our favorite.

    If you keep going straight and don't take either left turn, you'll go around the main loop, which has a 'mini loop' about halfway through (only right you can take) that goes around the playground. There is also another campground host in the field around the playground. There are a couple of very nice, spacious shaded sites with big grassy areas for the dogs and kids if you prefer that kind of site. You can also walk down a trail at the end of this mini loop and it will take you out to a great fishing dock...bit of a hike though. If you don't take the right and keep going around, you'll come back out by the "shower loop" road again. Really, any of these sites in this final loop are great, heavily wooded, you will barely see the people to the right or left of you. Almost all sites have electric. Tent camping has its own dedicated area in the park, but some tent campers will come into the main electrical sites just for the amenities. They are really private sites and I think you'll enjoy the park immensely.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  4. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

    Messages:
    1,976
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    Clinton, Illinois
    Sounds like our kind of place, my grandsons love to fish. It is also near Rockford, which is where my granddaughter lives. We often camp on "our" weekends with her so we may be trying this park soon. Speaking of Rockford area.... have you ever tried Hononegah Forest Preserve campground? It is near Rockton and so far it is our favorite northern Illinois campground, which we use most often for visiting with Alanna. I believe have some photos of it on my webshots.

    Once again, thanks for hte heads up on Morrison Rockwood and for such a great review.
     
  5. Runamuck

    Runamuck New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    We only stayed at Rock Cut SP in Rockford, which is actually a very nice SP except for the fact that the campground is so close to the nearby interstate that you have to listen to engine braking from the big rigs and the sound of traffic all night long. That was a major disappointment. The weekend we stayed at Rock Cut was immediately following a prior weekend spent in southern Wisconsin at Kettle-Morraine SP and that place ALSO had significant road noise all night long from the nearby highway. So we were pretty bummed about camping in Illinois in general until we discovered Morrison-Rockwood SP. Its a very quiet campground unless you get some unruly campers...which is rare given the number of on-site hosts.

    While at Morrison Rockwood, you should take a short drive into town...there's a Sullivan's grocery store there that we usually make a run to for ice and burgers/steaks. But if you go in via Crosby Road (which becomes Norrish Road once you cross the bridge and get into town) you'll get to cross Rock Creek, which is the same stream that feeds Lake Carlton. The most important part of this little jaunt is that you'll drive aross one of the few covered bridges in the area. We often bike ride from the park to this and back again, as there is a paved biking trail that goes almost all the way there.

    [​IMG]

    If you are into geocaching, the park rangers are also friendly to the sport and have allowed for a few caches on the park property itself, off of the equestrian trails. Mind the horse droppings however!

    I also meant to add that many campers bring telescopes and lawn chairs out to the playground loop at night. There's a very large field that leads down to the lake from this loop and it offers some incredible dark sky viewing.
     
  6. Melissa71

    Melissa71 New Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Thank you sooooo much, I just found the additional information you posted. I'm so excited! I booked a site for Labor Day weekend. My husband and son love to fish, and my daughter and I can ride our bikes. We booked a site on the loop with the playground. Next time I'll be sure to make my reservation for one of the quieter "shower loop" sites. If you have any other campground recommendations, I'd love to hear them.
     
  7. Runamuck

    Runamuck New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Labor Day weekend will be busy for sure, so good job reserving your site in advance! We are going there again this weekend but skipping LD weekend. If you have any other questions before your visit, just ask. Have a GREAT time!
     
  8. magic612

    magic612 New Member

    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    That's good to know about this particular SP in IL. Do you know if there is any hiking there, or in nearby areas? Our family enjoys hiking when we camp.

    One spot you might try as an alternate is the Potawatomi section of the Kankakee River S.P. - it has mostly secluded campsites in a forested area, and is well-off from the rest of the park, so it is very quiet. We've been there several times and the sites are always clean, the hosts have been friendly and helpful, and the showers/bathrooms are generally in well-kept condition. We've even gone on weekends recently and it's only been about half-full. Just a possible alternative.

    I've not stayed in the Chippewa campground, as we're not fond of the open-space camping either, so you may want to try the other one if that's more your style.
     
  9. ErikRuud

    ErikRuud New Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Location:
    St. Charles, IL
    I am at Morrison Rockwood right now. It is very nice. Thanks for the recommendations.

    In many ways it is the same as Shabbona Lake State Park, but it does seem to be cared for just a little bit better.

    Shabbona has a camp store, Morrison Rockwood does not.

    Morrison Rockwood has campsite right by the palyground, Shabbona does not.

    The wooded sites at Morrison Rockwood offer more privacy than the wooded sites at Shabbona.

    They are both far enough away from the highways to be very quiet at night.
     
  10. keithert

    keithert Member

    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    We like Lehman's Lakeside RV Resort in Marengo. It has some spaces in the trees. There is a lake with lots of fish and they have free row boats and canoes. Usually we are the only tent camper in the place.
     
  11. ErikRuud

    ErikRuud New Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Location:
    St. Charles, IL
    I looked it up and Lehman's is much too close to the interstate for my taste.
     
  12. Runamuck

    Runamuck New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    I'm sitting in the popup at Wagon Trail campground outside of Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. Its a GORGEOUS weekend up here, our last campout of the year most likely.

    We were back at Morrison SP last weekend....wish I'd checked, could have looked you up!

    There are hiking trails at Morrison-Rockwood SP but they are also shared as horse trails. Honestly, trails are the highlight there. But we love the fishing the restaurant over the marina for their enormous breakfast platters and all the other fun things there to do and see.

    I've only stayed at Shabbona one time. We must've just been there on a bad weekend because there were tons of drunk frat boys having a party there all night long both nights. I called the park ranger several times and the sheriff once....nothing was done about it. Maybe we'll try them again this spring.
     
  13. ErikRuud

    ErikRuud New Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Location:
    St. Charles, IL
    Runamuck, what site where you at?

    I was in site 62 by the playground.
     
  14. Steve A

    Steve A A bad day camping beats a great day at work!

    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Good review and comments all. I've got a slew of cousins on my mom's side in/around Rockford. Most I haven't seen since the late 60s. Thiw could be the impetus to head that way sometime for a family visit.

    Ciao,
     
  15. beamer0821

    beamer0821 New Member

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion

    Save!
     
  16. parkyeti

    parkyeti New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Just booked a spot for Jun 8-11 to start off our first week of vacation. Anyone have any suggestions or need to know info before we arrive?
     
  17. parkyeti

    parkyeti New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Just an update after spending a week here. The hosts were super nice and the facility was well kept, and the showers were very clean. Several of the days through the week we could hear a mower but they stayed away from our site, and the ones on either side of us not to disturb. One day we loaded up and took the kids on some hiking trails, they mowed while we were gone and did a great job of staying away from our stuff (no grass clippings). We stayed on site 63 which is in the newer area of the park where the playground is located. I reccommend this site to everyone as it is shaded most of the day. The marina was under renovation ( the host said new owners) so their services werent available the week we were there. The trails were great and well maintained, there are about 10 seperate docks to fish off of with access to many parts of the lake. I will upload pics as soon as I get them from the wife.
     
  18. prop630

    prop630 Member

    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    May 19, 2017
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    We just got back from spending the week here, not many other campers there because the seasons almost over which was nice but looked like quite a few sites reserved for the weekend. The trees were changing so it was the perfect time to be there. Beautiful park with plenty to see and do and the campground was great. Very wooded with plenty of bathrooms and those were very clean as was the showers. We're definitely headed back there next spring.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.