Trail History

The trail, formerly known as the Pecatonica Prairie Path, has been in operation since the mid-1970s running, for the most part, along with the former Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, a corridor owned by Commonwealth Edison since 1972. Seven bridge structures, including the Sherman Underpass, were constructed in Winnebago and Stephenson counties in 2009-10.

A 12.5-mile section of the trail will be completed in Winnebago County by mid-summer in 2013 extending easterly from the Stephenson County line to Meridian Road.

Future construction includes the 3.5-mile section from Meridian Road East to Liberty Park in the city of Rockford; and the 13.5-mile section in Stephenson County from the Winnebago County line west to Tutty’s Crossing in downtown Freeport. Users should exercise caution along the uncompleted sections due to rough terrain, narrow trails, and some deteriorating structures.

The Pecatonica Prairie Path Commission is a cooperative intergovernmental agency established by the “Funding Five” government agencies listed below to develop and maintain the Pecatonica Prairie Path Trail: