10602 Haas Road, Rockton, IL 61024
306-acre Colored Sands Forest Preserve on the Sugar River is known for its birds – and the bird banding at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, its unique geology, and wonderful wildflowers. It offers outstanding panoramic views of the pristine Sugar River.
Because of its sandy soil, Colored Sands Forest Preserve supports many plants, and their associated wildlife, that are not found anywhere else in the county.
This preserve has nesting Henslow’s, Lark and Grasshopper Sparrows. On spring evenings in suitable weather, Whip-poor-wills can be heard singing and American Woodcocks heard displaying from the parking lot. Barred Owls are year-round residents. In fall, the preserve is a good place to look for migrating hawks.
The Sand Buff Bird Observatory operates a bird banding station on weekends through the spring and fall. Visitors can observe the birds being banded. Each year on Mother’s Day weekend the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory hosts Bird Fest, an educational open house. Visit their website at sandbluff.org for more information.
Seasonal Highlights: In May the sand prairie displays acres of blue lupine and shooting stars, and hoary and fringed pucoon in the summer. Look for birdsfoot violets in the spring woods.
Access Road: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Tables: Yes
Playground Equipment: No
Ball Fields: No
Horseback Trails: No
Hiking Trails(miles): 2.8
Campground Sites: No
Boat Launch: No
Canoe Launch: Yes
18 Hole Golf Course: No
Illinois Nature Preserve: Yes
Special Facilities: Bird Banding Station, Scenic Overlook
Donated Land: No
Natural Areas: Yes
All reservations subject to the GENERAL USE ORDINANCE