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Scenic Routes through Bureau County

Illinois River Road

Princeton is the place to start your trip through Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway. Experience the many natural and historical waypoints throughout the Princeton Gateway. Visit the Lovejoy Homestead, an important site on the Underground Railroad network to freedom and National Historic Landmark; cross one of Illinois' five remaining covered bridges; explore the Bureau County Historical Museum; venture in any direction to enjoy nature; or visit the unique shops and stately homes that line Princeton's brick streets. Princeton has numerous festivals including their newest month-long Festival 56 Summer Theater. Visitors can explore one of Illinois' first wind farms, or the state's first "windpowered" high school in near by Manlius. About ten miles southeast of Princeton, the Illinois River dives southward, slipping into the wide north-south valley originally carved by an ancient Pleistocene version of the Mississippi River. The associated natural habitats are mostly open grassland types, dotted with closed-canopy woodlands such as those at Warnecke Woods, Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve, and Condit's Ranch. The McCune Sand Prairie sits on superporous glacial moraine soils, resulting in a unique assemblage of dry-country grasses, wildflowers and small trees, including a number of species more common to regions much further west. Visit the Hennepin & Hopper Lakes Restoration Project to view how the Illinois River floodplain is being reclaimed and restored. Visit:

Galena Trails

Discover beautiful Bureau County along the Galena Trail and Coach Roads, scenic country roads that follow the Indian and pioneer trails that brought settlers, miners, Lincoln, and Lovejoy to Bureau, and the lead mines and prairies of northern Illinois. The Galena Trail and Coach Roads lead you over the Red Covered Bridge, through groves and fields, along blacktop county roads and dusty tracks lined with wildflowers, for a rare and exciting country adventure. Visit:

Ronald Reagan Trail

Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, grew up in Dixon, where he played football, delivered newspapers, and was a lifeguard. He attended Eureka College where he was active in theatre and was involved in student government. Reagan went on to be a sportscaster, an actor, a governor and 40th president of the United- States. Today Reagan's Illinois Heritage is celebrated throughout Northern Illinois in several communities that make up the Ronald Reagan Trail. Designated by the Illinois General Assembly on May 21, 1999, the trail tells the story of Reagan's life from his birth in 1911 to his graduation from college in 1932. Communities along the Trail offer Reagan historic sites and walking tours, Reagan themed events and many other historic and fun attractions. Visitors can learn about Illinois history, play a game of golf, visit a gambling boat, see a theater production or sit back and relax on the Rock River where Reagan served as a lifeguard.

There are many activities and lodging experiences to choose from in our communities. For additional information on the Trail or to learn about traveling the trail please visit

American Discovery Trail

This trail runs right through Bureau County along the Hennepin Canal Parkway. The American Discovery Trail (ADT) is a new breed of national trail - part city, part small town, part forest, part mountains, part desert - all in one trail. Its 6,800+ miles of continuous, multi-use trail stretches from Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, to Pt. Reyes National Seashore, California. It reaches across America, linking community to community in the first coast to coast, non-motorized trail. The ADT provides trail users the opportunity to journey into the heart of all that is uniquely American - its culture, heritage, landscape and spirit.

The ADT incorporates trails designed for hiking, bicycle and equestrian use. Because it connects five national scenic and 12 national historic trails, 34 national recreational trails, and many other local and regional trails - it is the backbone for the national trails system. It passes through metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Cincinnati, traces numerous pioneer trails, leads to 14 national parks and 16 national forests and visits more than 10,000 sites of historic, cultural and natural significance.

For additional information on the American Discovery Trail or to learn about traveling along this scenic route please visit