Explore Kane County! Central Kane Features Amazing Forest Preserves, History

Explore Kane County! Central Kane Features Amazing Forest Preserves, History

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a five-part series on Kane County outdoor recreational opportunities you can enjoy right now during Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Today’s Part 4 of the series is co-written by Karen Miller and Chris Toth of the Kane County Development And Community Services Department, Preservation Planner Julia Thavong and Ryan Peterson, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Kane County Department of Transportation.

Today we are off to explore the central part of Kane County!

Let’s start on the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail. Remember to follow the Safety Info. for Paddlers before heading out! The following adventure is meant for all paddling abilities.

Jon Duerr Forest Preserve

Enter the Fox River at the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve on the north side (river mile 65.4), arguably one of the most beautiful preserves in this part of the county. This interesting forest preserve complex, located at a crook in the Fox River offers a number of amenities.

There is a woodland for hiking and bird watching; shoreline for lounging and picnicking; and the Fox River itself for boating and fishing.

A large wood carved statue of Black Hawk, a Sauk Native American leader and namesake for the Black Hawk War of 1832, is situated at the preserve’s entrance. This is also the historical memorial site of unknown soldiers of General Scott’s Army.

Paddlers will then enjoy the beauty of the fields and forested ravines of Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve. The woods are the site of an oak tree dating to 1864. Continue downstream and enjoy the scenery as you float through a group of islands and around a sharp bend in the river.

To end your trip or for a break, carry out at Ferson Creek Park, on the west side (river mile 61.0), part of the St. Charles Park District. Among the amenities, Ferson Creek Park offers restrooms, drinking water, picnicking and fishing.

Pottawatomie Park

For a longer trip, continue downstream through increasingly urban land uses including sharing the river with motorized boat traffic. Exit the river at Pottawatomie Park on the east (river mile 60.4) where you will see paddleboats and the Pottawatomie Pavilion, a reconstruction of the original Victorian one. Pottawatomie Park is the last access before the St. Charles Dam.

If biking or hiking is your choice, use the Kane Kendall Council of Mayors Bike & Pedestrian App and hop onto the Fox River Trail in South Elgin on State Street near the South Elgin Dam heading south. One of Kane County’s truly unique features has been preserved by the Fox River Trolley Museum.

Commuter trains once lined the river connecting our communities together, about 40 miles along the Fox River from Carpentersville to Yorkville. Today, the museum offers a 3.5 mile ride to the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve on what remains of the commuter rail in preserved trolley cars.

Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve. (CREDIT: Forest Preserve District of Kane County Facebook page)

Back on the Fox River Trail, entering the Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, as described above, this Forest Preserve is indeed a major hub and stopping point. Taking a detour off the Fox River Trail, heading south on the Riverbend Regional Bike Trail will lead you to an 8-foot-high natural waterfall, as it cascades and pools into a clear rippling creek.

Returning south on the Fox River Trail, the next highlight is the Pottawatomie Park, described above. Just south of the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Fox River you will see the Harold Zook designed St. Charles municipal building and to the west the National Register designated and locally landmarked Baker Hotel built in 1928 by city benefactor “Colonel” Edward J. Baker.

Downtown St. Charles includes historic buildings such as the Arcada Theatre, originally showing silent movies accompanied by a pipe organ. The theater was built in 1926 by local millionaire Lester Norris.

Today the theater hosts multiple concerts and shows. The second floor of the building has a speak-easy with an amazing bar, restaurant and live entertainment.

After reading about all of the places to see and things to do in Central Kane, are you still looking for more?

Visit the St. Charles Business Alliance, where you can find more activities and events, great local restaurants, and new places to stay! Our Why Kane website links you directly to the other Chambers of Central Kane for everything you will need for your trip. Always remember to shop local!

UP NEXT: Stay tuned for fun in the southern part of Kane County.


A Note From The Kane County Development and Community Services Department

The Kane County Development and Community Services Department is encouraging residents to get outside and also to support local businesses during all phases of the Restore Illinois Plan.

Visit the Why Kane website for links to Community Development Connections — economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, utilities and businesses committed to helping present and future citizens of Kane County grow and prosper.

Read The Series!

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