Grab a cup of delicious fresh roasted coffee at Herman's Boy or an ice cream at Rocky's and prepare to discover one of the city of Rockford's hidden gems . . . the Rum Creek Trail! Easy to access either from Northland Dr. across the street from Herman's, or from the Memorial Park/Community Cabin at 220 N Monroe, enjoy a peaceful stroll on the paved and boardwalk walkway along tranquil Rum Creek. Explore a bit in the woods and see the 'waterfall' over broken concrete, or just listen to the 'babble' as it rushes over the rocks, this pristine trout stream and lovely woods is a treasure!

Shhhh . . . walk quietly in the early morning light or early evening and you might surprise the deer family that lives in the meadows and woods between Wolverine Blvd and N Monroe St. In the spring, the baby fawns are a true delight to behold! If you look carefully you will notice their well worn trails through the woods and the spots in the meadow where they bed down.

Listen carefully and you will not only hear the babble of the brook, but the frogs, the peepers and the birds that call the wetlands area home. Nestled behind the cattails near the bridge, it sometimes resembling a full blown pond and other times a swampy area. Either way, wildlife abounds.

Have some time to spend? There are a couple of benches along the way to ponder the beauty and tranquility, or bring along a lunch - there are picnic tables located at the west end near the Community Cabin.

Bringing along the kiddos? The Parkside Playground is accessible at this end of the trail for a little playtime after the hike.

Did I mention, the black raspberry bushes? I'm not going to give away the exact location, but again, look closely and you may be lucky enough to enjoy a handful.

The city of Rockford created the trail, paved and put in the boardwalk in 2002 and they also keep it plowed in the winter months, so that it can be enjoyed year round. Prior to that, I blazed a few trails of my own through the area, but trust me, it was rough going!

Take advantage of this lovely amenity in the heart of the city . . . I hope to meet you there!