Visiting Nachusa Grasslands

When visiting Nachusa Grasslands, keep the following in mind:

• An information kiosk is located at the visitor entrance on Lowden Road. 
• Wear long pants, sturdy shoes, and sun protection. 
• Bring a bottle of water. 
• A Port-a-John is located by the visitor kiosk.
• Hiking only, no pets, bikes, camping.
• You can hike on or off trails.
• No collecting of any kind.
• Open dawn to dusk.

DIRECTIONS TO NACHUSA GRASSLANDS

Click to see a map.

DIRECTIONS TO NACHUSA GRASSLANDS, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
Headquarters is 8772 S. Lowden Road, Franklin Grove, IL 61031
815-456-2340                                                             updated: 2009

The short version: Nachusa Grasslands is 4 miles northwest of Franklin Grove on Lowden Road, between Naylor and Stonebarn Roads. The Main Trail Head to the preserve is at the Visitor Entrance with the kiosk.

From Chicago (2 hours ) and Parts East:
Option 1) Go west on I-88 (East-West Tollway): Exit at Route 251 North, (Rochelle) to Route 38 West. Travel through Ashton and into Franklin Grove (approx. 16 miles), go 2 blocks past Casey’s and turn right (North) on Daysville Rd./1700E (brown sign: Franklin Creek Natural Area). Travel 1.5 miles north to Naylor Rd./1950N, turn left (West) and go 2.2 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E. Turn right (North) and go 1 mile to Visitor Entrance (on left with the kiosk).
Option 2) Take I-88 West and then follow directions from Parts South taking Option 2: Route 39 North to Route 38 West.

From Rockford (1 hour plus), IL and Parts North:
Take Route 39 South, exit at Route 64 West towards Oregon, IL for 16 miles to the light at Daysville Rd./1700E, which is just before Oregon. Go left (south) on Daysville Rd. for 2.5 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E (past LaVigna Restaurant). Note brown sign for Lowden-Miller State Forest. Turn right and continue southwards on Lowden Rd. for 7 miles (you will pass Flagg and Stonebarn Roads) to the Visitor Entrance (on right with kiosk).

From the Mississippi River, Dixon, IL and Parts West:
Exit from I-88 Tollway at Route 26 North towards Dixon then in town:
Option 1) Take Route 38 East for approx. 9 miles into Franklin Grove, turn left (North) on Daysville Rd./1700E (brown sign Franklin Creek Natural Area). Travel 1.5 miles north to Naylor Rd./1950N, turn left (West) and go 2.2 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E, turn right (North) and go 1 mile to Visitor Entrance (on left with kiosk).
Option 2) Take Route 2 North out of Dixon, and in approx. 2 miles, turn right (East) on Lost Nation Rd./1950N. Go one mile to Maples Rd./1150E, turn right and then immediately left on Naylor Rd./1950N. Go east for 3.5 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E. Turn left (North) and go 1 mile to Visitor Entrance (on left with kiosk).

From: La Salle, IL and Parts South:
Option 1) Take Route 39 North to Route 30 West, go 16 miles to Franklin Rd./1650E. Turn right (North) go 6 1/3 miles to the town of Franklin Grove turn left (North) on to Elm St. go to Route 38 and turn left (West) and go two blocks, turn right (North) on Daysville Rd./1700E, (Franklin Creek Natural Area). Travel 1.5 miles to Naylor Rd./1950N, turn left (West) and go 2.2 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E. Turn right (North) and go 1 mile to Visitor Entrance (on left with kiosk).
Option 2) Take Route 39 North exit at Route 38 West (left) to Rochelle. Go through several traffic lights for approx. 2 miles to Caron Rd. Turn right (North) and follow the curve to Flagg Rd. Turn left (West) and go 14 miles to Lowden Rd./1500E. Turn left (South) for 1.8 miles to the Visitor Entrance (on right with kiosk).
Option 3) Take 39 North to Route 38 West and follow directions under Option 1 from Chicago and Parts East (second sentence through Ashton).

From: Peoria, IL (2 hours plus):
Take Route 29 North, go past Chillicothe and Henry, IL. Route 29 merges into 180 North, take this to Route 80 West. Take Route 80 west for a few miles to Route 26 North. Take Rt. 26, past Route 30, past I-88 Tollway and into Dixon, IL. At the first traffic light in Dixon follow Option 1 under Mississippi and Parts West.

All volunteer workdays and some tours leave from the Preserve Headquarters. The Preserve Headquarters red barn is located at 8772 S. Lowden Road up a long driveway. This is one-half mile north of the Visitor Entrance.