Starting in Rockford and ending in Dixon, the Rock River Run offers a rare discovery around every turn. With an abundance of incredible rock formations, riverside views and small historic towns along the way
Midwestern US is home to some of the most scenic and geographically diverse rides out there. The Rock River Valley in Illinois is one such example, and the Rock River Run is considered to be one of the favorite routes in Illinois among motorcycle riders.
This 42-mile stretch of asphalt runs south of Rockford and follows part of the winding Rock River. Which is a tributary of the Mississippi in Wisconsin and Illinois – until you reach Dixon. It offers some gentle curves that even a beginner rider can be at ease with, as well as some challenging roads for skilled riders.
However, what makes this route truly special is its great natural charm, varied beauty and serene surroundings. Along the Rock River are pictures that delight the eye. Vast lakes, quaint farmlands, and postcard-perfect riverside views are accessible from tree-lined roads.
The eye-catcher is its majestic rock formations. Rock River features sections of rock formations and ravines that could give Arizona’s Grand Canyon or Colorado’s Arches National Park a run for their money.
A fellow rider put it beautifully, “I bought my first bike in Dixon. It was cold and raining, but there was no way in hell that I was going to just throw the bike in the back of the truck. About 10 minutes into my first ride ever, I saw a view of the Rock River and surrounding scenery that made me think, ‘This is why I bought a bike.’ The rest of the route was packed with beautiful sights and breathtaking views.”
The Rock River Run also perfectly blends a small-town feel with the historical landscape. It’s a Midwestern trekker’s dream.
You’ll be overcome with a sense of calmness as you throttle in and out around the river’s curves and take in the vast countryside. On two-lane roads, away from crowded highways. But there are also many small towns you can stop at along the way. Whether it’s for a pit stop at diners and drive-ins, an overnight in a motel, or to take in the history.
There’s the city of Byron, for example, which is best known as the location of the Byron Nuclear Generating Station. One of the last nuclear power plants commissioned in the States.
Grand Detour is a small village named after a great bend in the Rock River on which it stands. The village was also home to John Deere, who founded the machine manufacturing company that still bears his name.
Dixon was where future US President Ronald Reagan lived as a youth and served as a lifeguard on the river as a teenager. His ‘Boyhood Home’ is located in Dixon.
And the city of Oregon contains the 48-foot sculpture of the legendary Chief Black Hawk. Who was a warrior and leader of the Sauk tribe in the Midwest. The statue, according to its artist Lorado Taft, represents the unconquerable spirit of Native Americans. Using motifs from several tribal cultures. It overlooks the waterway in Lowden State Park, which is also a popular spot for hiking.
Navigating your way through beautiful river bluff country, unforgettable rock formations, unimaginably vast great lakes, thick forested canopies, and an abundance of historical gems make the Rock River Run an epic ride.