Information on:

Rock Cut State Park

7318 Harlem Road

By the middle of the 17th century, Miami-speaking tribes of Native Americans entered the region of Rock Cut State Park after the Iroquois drove them from territory on the southern end of Lake Michigan. 

From about 1655 until 1735, the Rock River was within the range of the Mascouten, who were also pushed westward by the Iroquois. The Winnebago ranged southward from Wisconsin to the Rock River from the 1740s until 1837, while the river’s upper portion was on the periphery of the Fox and Sauk territory from about 1765 to 1833. By 1800, the Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa nations had extended their range into the area, but they ceded their lands to the United States 32 years later following the Black Hawk War.

Settlement of Winnebago County began after the Black Hawk War. The region that is now Rock Cut State Park was settled partly by Scots around Argyle - named for their Scottish home of Argyllshire - and partly by Canadians, New Yorkers and New Englanders around the town of Harlem - named for New York City’s Harlem. The Illinois version of Harlem was moved in 1859 when the Kenosha-Rockford Rail Line was built. The dammed waters of Pierce Lake now cover much of the railroad bed within the park, although portions of the railroad grade are visible along Willow Creek below the spillway. But blasting operations in a rock outcrop that railroad crews conducted during the 1859 construction left lasting impressions here - they cut through rock to provide a suitable roadbed and gave Rock Cut its name.


Johnathan TePaske

Friday, July 6, 2018
The lake views are amazing at sunset. Check out the wooden dam bridge! It sounds like thunder as you're driving over. The spillway looks like it would be fun to ride down in a tube. The hiking paths are pretty, but you might find a mosquito or two. There were many families enjoying the fishing. It was nice to "get away" from urban life without having to drive a long distance. You can easily pretend you're in the middle of nowhere.

Karen Zimmerman

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Lovely lake and hiking trails! The Park has many beautiful picnic areas and a nice boat launch. There is an impressive trail system. Unfortunately however, the park provides only a very basic map, so research and print one in advance, with trail numbers. There are a huge number of campsites, but water pumps and shower buildings are almost non-existent, the garbage dumpsters and pit toilets are literally right next to campsites, and there are huge lights on tall poles throughout the campsites. Most of the campsites are open to each other, with little to no privacy. On the plus side, the pit toilets are clean and very tolerable. The fire rings in the campsites are very nice, with a large sturdy cooking grate. There were many species of water birds and lots of turtles to be seen on the lake, and I got to enjoy a hen turkey on her morning walkabout. I would visit again for a day trip, to paddle and hike.

Tom Hill

Sunday, May 27, 2018
Nice trails. Good looking lake. Supposed to be some good fishing, but we just went bluegill plucking to teach the kids how to cast and reel... The campground is kind of overcrowded and more noisy than I would like. Restrooms and showers were less than mediocre. Nice place to visit, but I'm not sure how much I'll want to stay here again. By the way... If it's 100 degrees in the shade, run down the road to the discovery center museum. Keep the kids busy in the AC all afternoon.

Nathan Gallagher

Sunday, May 27, 2018
Could be a nice park. There are no areas to swim. We camped Memorial Day weekend and the power kept going out and the bathrooms are closed. My voltage meter read around 100 volts. We ended up leaving a day early. With some upgrades and maintenance this could be a fantastic park. It's a free park so maybe charge to raise money to maintain the park.

Carly Siriann

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
We love hiking or biking at this park. The sites are beautiful and you never know what kind of wildlife you will see. This park also has boating and fishing opportunities as well as several places to have a picnic or grill at.

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