Everett McKinley Dirksen Park
Dirksen Park covers approximately 400 acres of beautiful woodland and meadows. The majority of the land is located within the Land and Water Reserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. The land supports about 15 species of animals, 80 species of birds and a wide spectrum of plant life.
Deer, fox, coyote, muskrat and beaver are just a few of the animals that inhabit the park. The highest point in the park has an elevation of 639 feet, overlooking the Illinois River Valley. Careful and close observation of the landscape will reveal many rare species of flowers and plant life.
History – Boy Scout Troop 194, with the help of Orie Potts park conservationist, planned and blazed the original Running Deer hiking trail. Through the early 1990's John and Betty Yentes volunteered as trail guides and helped to maintain the trails. In 1996 Park Police Chief Tom Conlin made changes to the original trail layout to provide a safer path to users.
The hiking trail Running Deer (marked in yellow) is just over 3 miles in length, taking about 2 hours to complete at a comfortable pace. The trail begins and ends at the public parking area near the Archery Range. Additional loops (marked in blue) were added to the Running Deer trail and are used primarily by mountain bikers. These add-ons double the overall length of the original trail. Hikers and mountain bikers using these trails should be alert to each others presence to avoid user conflicts.
Special Note: The Waterfall that many hike to is not in Dirksen Park and is on Private Property. The landowner has asked us to notify the public that this area is not part of Dirksen Park and that you are tresspassing on Private Property.
Parking is available at the Public Parking area near the Archery Range. Access to the park can also be made from Route 98 just west of the entrance to the Archery Range and from the parking area at the RC Club. Please respect private property when visiting Dirksen Park. Visitors are reminded to secure their vehicles and valuable when parking.
Full color (Running Deer) patches are available at the Recreation Office located in Mineral Springs Park.
(309) 353-7220 (office)
(309) 346-3132 (dispatch)
The following acts are prohibited:
- Possession of Alcohol
- Littering / Dumping
- Disturbing Animals or Plant Life
- Cutting of Trees or Shrubs
- Motorized vehicles outside of designated areas
- Fires in areas not designated
- Being in Park Before or After Posted Hours (6am – 10pm)