Outdoor Activities

Bureau County and the surrounding areas are rich with numerous outdoor activities to satisfy virtually any outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, biking, fishing and hunting to bird-watching or just a leisurly stroll, the Chestnut Street Inn offers a perfect launching point for all of these activities. Note: Tennis Courts and Basketball Courts are available in the two parks in town so bring your rackets and balls.

Illinois River Country Nature Trail-Runs 140 miles from Ottawa, IL to Havana, IL. Sites in Bureau County include Galena Trail and Coach Road, Warneke Woods, McCune Sand Prairie, Mautino State Fish and Wildlife Area, Donnelley/Depue State Fish and Wildlife Area & Complex, Witness Tree and Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park. For a booklet detailing each site, contact the Princeton Chamber of Commerce at 877-730-4306. Booklets are free of charge.


Hennepin Canal

Part of the Grand Illinois Trail. Hike, bike, fish or birdwatch on the canal. From Colona, IL to Bureau Junction, IL, bikers can easily cover the entire trail in two days. The Friends of the Canal also offers monthly hikes, 2-5 miles long between the locks. For more information on the canal or on how to join, click on their website link or call 815-664-2403. Canoe, fishing pole, bike and Boat rentals are also available for the canal through Canal Area Tackle. They will deliver bike rentals to the inn. Stop by the Visitor’s Center located off Route 40 in Sheffield, just south of exit 45 from I-80.


I & M Canal Boat Tour

Discover the history of the I & M Canal on a mule drawn riverboat. Lock 16 Visitor Center, La Salle, IL.

Johnson Sauk Trail

Hiking, fishing, cross country skiing, birdwatching.

Hornbaker Gardens

Hornbaker Gardens is a family owned and operated nursery located 5 miles southeast of Princeton, Illinois. Our large collections of hostas, daylilies, irises, trees & shrubs, grasses, aquatics, annual, and other perennials draw plant enthusiasts from not only the Midwest, but from all across the country. Guests of the Chestnut Street Inn LOVE bringing home plants to remember their trip by!


There are 36 boxes in Bureau County, including a number of boxes that are a part of a Wizard of Oz themed series running from Bureau Junction to Milan of about 50 boxes, many of which run along the Hennepin Canal. There is also a lovely box to be found at Frances Park Woodland Palace, a fantastic site to visit in and of itself. There is additional info on letterboxing at atlasquest.com.


At the current moment, May 5, 2010, over 9,000 geocaches are said to have been placed within a 100 mile radius of our zip code. If you’re interested in geocaching, the possibilities are practically endless. For more information and exact coordinates, log onto geocaching.com.


This road ride provides you a chance to enjoy some of the best bike roads that northwest Illinois has to offer. The routes will feature loops that incorporate hills, rolling terrain, beautiful views of Bureau Creek with minimal traffic.



Starved Rock State Park

Voted the #1 Attraction in the State of Illinois! Arguably one of the most popular hiking, biking, camping areas in the entire state of Illinois. One of the most popular times of the year to come here is during the early spring when eagle watching is spectacular and the waterfalls are in full swing. To see more photos and view upcoming events check out their website here.

Mautino Fish and Wildlife Preserve

15 stocked lakes. Great birdwatching. There is a fantastic 2-3 mile long bike ride from the inn to the Preserve and back.