Illinois - Motorcycle Roads and Riders


Motorcyclists will find mile after mile of great country roads in Illinois that traverses this state’s wide variety of terrain, including swamps, prairie, wooded areas, and farmlands.

The 278,537-acre Shawnee National Forest is located in a region of this state that is referred to as the Illinois Ozarks. These very old mountains, which are older than the Rockies, are an extension of Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. This is a very beautiful large forest that is home to many different species of wildlife. The Shawnee National Forest is one of the hilliest areas in Illinois, so it boasts a number of twisty, fun rides, and it also features a diverse range of terrain. Riders will pass by cypress swamps, gorgeous bluffs and many pretty lakes while exploring this park.

Motorcyclists can access this park, which is located in southern Illinois, several different ways, including from Illinois State Highway 34 to Karber’s Ridge Road. Once on Karber’s Ridge Road, motorcyclists will find a number of entrances for the park. One of the best areas of Shawnee National Forest to visit off of this road is the Garden of the Gods, which features gorgeous sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted into unusual shapes by nature’s elements. Motorcyclists will just need to follow the signs on Karber’s Ridge Road that will lead them to the Garden of the Gods.

Starved Rock State Park, which is located about 95 miles southwest of Chicago, is another area rich in natural wonders and beauty, including 425-million-year-old sandstone rock formations. In addition to these sculptures created by Mother Nature, there are many beautiful waterfalls and 18 canyons featuring sandstone bluffs in Starved Rock State Park. The terrain is surprisingly hilly in this area, so motorcyclists will get to enjoy some twisties as they go through the park. To reach Starved Rock State Park, motorcyclists can take Route 178 south to where it intersects with Route 71, where they will then turn east. This will take riders to the park’s entrance.

Motorcyclists in northwest Illinois who are looking for a pretty, fun road should head over to the Scenic Ridge Route, which is located near Savanna. This road climbs to the top of some bluffs as it cuts through the 2,500-acre Mississippi Palisades State Park. This park, which is located at the confluences of the Mighty Mississippi River and the Apple River, features interesting rock formations and the stunning Mississippi Palisades, which are steep cliffs that line the river. To enjoy this park, take US-52 north through Savanna until you see a sign that indicates “Scenic Ridge Route.” Riders will then take this east until it ends in US Highway 20. This route features elevation changes and nice sweepers, in addition to fantastic scenery.

For motorcycle riders who enjoy jaunts through pretty country and small Midwest towns, Route 2 south out of Rockford is just what the doctor ordered. This road follows alongside the pretty Rock River and through wooded sections. A must-see on Route 2 is a 50-foot-tall statue of a Native American gazing across the Rock River Valley that is located in Lowden State Park. It is commonly called Chief Black Hawk, but its sculptor, Lorado Taft, is said to have created the image in honor of all Native Americans.

Of course, Illinois offers more to its motorcyclists than just roads. This state is also the site of numerous motorcycle rallies, shows and events, including the adults-only Hogrock River Rally. This large four-day event is held in Cave In Rock in June and features contests, poker runs and live bands.



Disclaimer:  All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here.  Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.