Nachusa Bison – John Deere Loop

Beginning at the historic Oregon Depot built in 1913, this loop takes you through downtown Oregon, across the Rock River, south through the tiny village of Daysville and then past the former estate of Governor Lowden, Illinois’ 25th governor from 1917-1921.   His lands have now been set aside as the 2,300 acre Lowden-Miller State Forest, one of Ogle County’s newest recreational areas. It has 22 miles of maintained trails through the forest and along the river. Hiking, horseback riding, skiing and snowshoeing, are popular year round activities.

Screenshot 2015-09-02 09.33.08Continuing on Lowden Road you will ride past the 2,200 acre Nachusa Grasslands, one of largest restored grasslands in Illinois. This is a great place to stretch your legs, take a hike, or just enjoy the sweeping landscape.   Five hundred acres are set aside for a recently introduced genetically pure bison herd. The best place to observe them is a short distance down Stone Barn Road, a dead end side road traveling west from the described bike loop.

The loop continues through rolling hills of scenic Illinois farmland and once again across the beautiful Rock River. The back half of this loop then goes through Grand Detour, where the river flows south, east, west, north, and south again within a few miles. It is also the site of John Deere’s blacksmith shop where the modern plow was invented in 1837.   His home and blacksmith shop have been rebuilt as they may have appeared at the time, and are open to the public for special events and daily tours. With luck, you may find the Blacksmith actively hammering out iron implements.   The town also has the historic St. Peter’s Episcopal Church built in 1849. The Shell station is your best shot for a variety of refreshments.

Going north from Grand Detour on Ridge Road returns you to wide rolling hills of fields and pastures. At the corner with Penn Corner Rd, you will find the small wooded Oak Ridge Cemetery. This is another nice spot to stretch your legs and search for the Civil War era tombstones in this well maintained location.

Finally, you turn right from Ridge Road onto Oregon Trail Road. This final stretch takes you through wooded countryside and roller-coaster hills before turning right into Oregon Park West.  This park is the crown jewel of the Oregon Park District. You’ll find a sledding hill, restored prairie, multiple ball fields, soccer fields, skateboard park, and – best of all on a hot day – a water splash park. The bike loop continues along the paved path, over an elevated boardwalk across wetlands, past the community gardens, and then returns you to the train Depot.

We hope you enjoyed the ride, and invite you to return many times to enjoy the other bike loops, shops, and events our small city has to offer. Every season offers a new experience.

 Oregon’s historic Depot:

Nachusa Grasslands:

John Deere Historic Site:

Oregon Park West:


Turn left onto S 3rd St 0.1 mi
Turn right onto W Washington St 1.0 mi
Turn right onto S Daysville Rd 1.7 mi
Slight right onto S Lowden Rd 4.0 mi
Turn right onto Naylor Rd 12.0 mi
Turn right onto Maples Rd 15.5 mi
Turn right onto Lost Nation Rd 15.6 mi
Turn left onto Grand Detour Rd 15.8 mi
Turn left to stay on Grand Detour Rd 16.5 mi
Turn right onto IL-2 N 17.6 mi
Turn left onto Rock St 18.4 mi
Turn right onto S Green St 18.6 mi
Continue onto S Ridge Rd 19.1 mi
Turn right onto W Oregon Trail Rd 26.9 mi
Turn right onto 14th St 30.1 mi


Screenshot 2015-09-02 09.42.26