Stephenson County - Winnebago County

Lake Summerset

Located on Best Road in far northwest Winnebago County, Lake Summerset is one of the two largest bodies of water (Pierce Lake in Rock Cut State Park is the other) in the county. This is a gated community, so access is not allowed, but viewing the lake is possible from Best Road. About 2 miles N of the intersection of IL 75 and Best Road, go N on Best Road. Park in the lot of the State Bank and walk across (W) Best Road to a yellow gate marked “Emergency Vehicles Only.” Don’t block the gate, but set up your telescope on either side for good views of the lake in morning hours (you are looking straight west, so afternoon isn’t optimum). This lake attracts a variety of loons, grebes, waterfowl, gulls and terns. It is a deep lake (although manmade, the deep end is near the gate and earthen dam) and freezes over during cold winters, so viewing is limited until the ice goes off of the lake, usually by the 20th of March. April and May are best in spring. Be aware that the Winnebago-Stephenson County line runs approximately 1/2 way across the lake. Any bird opposite the swimming beach on the south shore are in Stephenson County.

By Dan Williams