726 acres | 5.79 miles of trail
Open Daily Sunrise to Sunset (Some sites are subject to Seasonal Closures or closures due to special circumstances).
20501 McGuire Road, Harvard
Rush Creek Conservation Area is 726 acres and contains a mixture of upland forest, oak and hickory woodlands, wetlands and sedge meadows. In addition, a one-mile section of the 12.5 mile Rush Creek traverses the site prior to entering the Kishwaukee River near the Boone County line.
A bur oak grove lies west of the lake. Within the woodlands, a variety of trees including shagbark hickory, aspen, black walnut, basswood, black cherry trees, and red, white, and bur oaks. The strong branches on these trees provide favorable nesting places for larger birds such as red-tailed hawks and great horned owls, while the hollows and holes in the trees provide habitat for smaller wildlife like woodpeckers, screech owls and flying squirrels. Coyote, deer, raccoons, groundhogs, grey squirrels and opossums also live here and their tracks can often be seen along the banks of the pond and creek.
Many shallow, ephemeral ponds exist along the trails. These seasonal wetlands provide crucial habitat for salamanders, Blanding’s turtles, American toads and chorus frogs during the spring and early summer months. Other wetland features throughout the site are sedge meadows or shallow marshes. Native plants such as wild geranium, Solomon’s seal, wild onion, Joe Pye weed, and sedges are becoming more abundant in restored areas at Rush Creek. Several species of wildflowers scatter the forest floor, including May apple, shooting star, violet, and trillium. Other wildflowers in the prairie and wet meadow include sunflower, yellow coneflower, aster, wild geranium, cardinal flower, and marsh marigold.
Also noteworthy is the extensive restoration work that was completed in 2005 to improve water quality and fish habitat in the pond and creek.