Nestled at the meeting point of the east and west forks of the Illinois River, Illinois River Forks State Park is the perfect spot for a delightful picnic, round of disc golf, or cooling off in the river – right in our own backyard!
You’ll find convenient picnic tables and restrooms (equipped with vault toilets) that ensure your comfort during your visit. For those seeking a bit of adventure, there’s a short walking trail near the picnic area to explore, go birdwatching, and appreciate the diverse natural life in the area. And if you’re up for some friendly competition, don’t miss the 18-hole disc golf course that promises a fun-filled time. The park also features an equestrian arena with trails equipped for equestrian use, thanks to the dedicated volunteers from the Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon Sourdough Chapter.
Beyond its recreational offerings, the park is a geological gem, boasting a unique landscape and hosting many rare plant species. So, take some time to soak in the natural beauty of the area and marvel at its wonders. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, this park is a must-visit destination along your journey.
History of the Park
The inception of this park dates back to 1961 when the original tracts of land were purchased. A significant milestone followed in 1962 with the acquisition of an 80-acre lease from the Bureau of Land Management. However, it was the remarkable generosity of Margaret McGee that truly transformed the park. Her thoughtful gifts in 1976 and 1977 expanded the park to its current size, ensuring its continued growth and beauty.
Interestingly, the Illinois River owes its name to the Althouse brothers from Illinois. These adventurous souls migrated to Oregon in 1849 in search of gold. Their explorations led them to discover precious gold in the river, forever etching their homeland’s name onto the waterway.
This rich history and the contributions of various individuals and organizations have shaped the park into the remarkable destination it is today. It stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of exploration and the remarkable stories that become woven into the fabric of our natural landscapes.
IVCanDO played a vital role in spearheading the community initiative to revitalize Illinois River Forks State Park, and the results have been incredible. A crucial aspect of this endeavor was the establishment of an Adopt-a-Park Agreement in 2012, which fostered a collaborative partnership between IVCanDO and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
The agreement was a testament to the recognition of the invaluable contributions made by community partners and volunteers. IVCanDO and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department joined forces, understanding the significance of their combined efforts in breathing new life into the park.
Through the unwavering dedication of IVCanDO and the support of passionate volunteers, Forks State Park has been revitalized into a vibrant and inviting destination. It stands as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives and the positive impact they can have on our natural spaces.
Disc Golf Course
Nestled within the floodplain between the two forks of the Illinois River, you’ll find the exhilarating Forks Disc Golf Course. This unique location boasts a mostly flat terrain with abundant open space, offering players a wide expanse to showcase their skills. With minimal rough to contend with, the current layout provides a more accessible experience. However, as the small trees that have been planted here gradually mature, the course will evolve into a more challenging and thrilling endeavor.
The Forks Disc Golf Course is the result of an incredible collaboration. It was brought to life through the joint efforts of the Ford Family Foundation’s third Illinois Valley cohort of the Ford Institute Leadership Program. With the involvement of 26 dedicated cohort members, as well as numerous community volunteers and local donors, this course has become a testament to the power of teamwork and community engagement. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who contributed their time, resources, and passion to make this disc golf haven a reality.
Westside Trail System
Discover the enchanting westside network of loop trails, easily accessible via Westside Road. Stretching across eight miles, these picturesque trails wind their way through a captivating landscape of mixed forests, featuring majestic conifers and serene oak woodlands. Along the way, prepare to be treated to breathtaking vista points that offer panoramic views of the magnificent Illinois Valley and the meandering Illinois River.
Originally designed with horse travel in mind, these trails have also become a beloved destination for hikers seeking to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. As you explore, you’ll encounter sections adorned with vibrant dogwood trees, creating a mesmerizing spectacle during the springtime when they burst into bloom. For a different visual treat, plan your visit for late October when the leaves of the dogwood trees transform into a radiant pink hue, painting the trails with a palette of autumnal colors.
Whether you’re a horseback rider or an avid hiker, this trail network invites you to embark on a journey of serenity and discovery. Soak in the tranquility of the forest, breathe in the crisp, fresh air, and let the natural wonders of the trail captivate your senses. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the magic of the westside loop trails and create cherished memories amidst nature’s embrace.