• Geneseo Prairie Park

    Prairie trail segment at Geneseo Prairie Park.

    Looking over the prairie trail at Geneseo Prairie Park.

    Want to Get Involved With This Project?

    There will be plenty of opportunities for volunteer help on this project and the more help we get the faster the new trails will be ready for tires. Subscribe to the Geneseo Prairie Park forum to receive email updates about upcoming work days and the latest developments.

    Summary

    Geneseo Prairie Park (GPP) is located on the northern outskirts of Geneseo across from the Hennepin Canal Parkway Trail. There are ~55 acres of forested and restored prairie land at the park on which ~1 mile of old school doubletrack/singletrack hiking trail exists.

    Existing Trail Information

    Most sections of trail are easily ridden on a mountain bike but there are a couple of punchy climbs that might require a dismount. We recommend avoiding the Ike's Fen trail (closest to the canal) because it has many muddy areas, slick narrow boardwalks (ie. 2x6's laid on the ground), and a RR tie stairway that requires a hike-a-bike.

    Soils at the park are very sandy which lends itself well to fat bikes and quick dry times after rain.

    Small log over on one of the trails at Geneseo Prairie Park.

    Small log over on one of the trails at Geneseo Prairie Park.

    Trail difficulty falls between beginner (green) and intermediate (blue) skill level. Expect a couple punchy climbs, some tight loose corners, and a few small trail features.

    The existing trails are not well signed but trail maps are posted near common access points which are helpful. The trails are laid out in a network with many intersections in the forested area. It's possible to stitch together a large loop that will incorporate most of the trails.

    Trail Map

    Click here to view the trail map currently posted on the kiosk.

    Working Towards Sustainable Trails

    Current Trail System

    Geneseo Prairie Park's existing trail system.

    Future Trail System

    Future trail system at Geneseo Prairie Park.

    Some may be curious why the current trails are being changed? And is it worth the effort? Many of the existing trails appear to have come about through years of use with little consideration to long term sustainability, the recreation goals of users, or impact to the environment. This is typical of many older trail systems and over the years trail design standards have matured substantially to address these issues.

    Problems with past design shortcomings are quickly exposed as more users flock to legacy trails. Difficult navigation, complex intersections, steep grades, accelerated erosion, and abrupt corners are just a few of the issues FORC will be fixing during this project. The resulting trail system will have a lower environmental impact, be more enjoyable to users, have more trail miles, and minimize the amount of volunteer effort needed to keep them maintained in the future.

    Trail Closures

    Trails at GPP are closed during wet and muddy conditions to preserve the integrity of the trail surface. This minimizes erosion, creates a more pleasant user experience, and ensures sustainable use for many years to come. Current trail conditions can be found on the FORC homepage and are regularly updated.

    Park Hours

    Park Opens: Sunrise
    Park Closes: Sunset

    Trail kiosk along the Issac Walton League access.

    Trail kiosk along the Issac Walton League access containing trail map and natural information.

    Directions

    Geneseo Prairie Park is located 2 miles north of Geneseo, IL on IL-82 just before the Hennepin Canal.

    There are three locations to access the trails at GPP:

    • Small parking lot off of IL-82 in the prairie area.
    • Parking lot near the Issac Walton League Cabin.
    • Grass parking lot near the entrance to the burn pit off of Roos Hill Rd (recommended).

    Project Updates

    In September 2015 a group of Geneseo FORC members began talks with Geneseo's Park Director about improving exiting and developing new mountain biking and hiking trails at Geneseo Prairie Park. There was strong support for the project and we quickly secured approval to move forward with design and construction. We are currently in the planning phase and expect to start moving dirt in Spring 2016.

    • 12/12/15: Initial scouting and brainstorming for new trail layout. +3 miles of total trail is expected when finished. New trails will utilize a stacked loop layout composed of trails of different characters and difficulty to accommodate users of varying skill level.
    • 10/13/15: Geneseo City Council unanimously approves new trail development and old trail improvements at Geneseo Prairie Park by partnering with FORC (City Council Meeting Minutes)

  • Local Trail Conditions

    Sylvan Island

    Bridge Closed

    Sunderbruch

    Closed

    Scott County Park

    Closed

    Illiniwek

    Closed

    Westbrook Park

    Closed

    Stephens Park

    Closed

    Prairie Park

    Closed

    Dorrance Park

    Coming Soon

  • MTB Trail Etiquette

    • Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.

    • Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

    • Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

    • Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you're coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

    • Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

    • Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.