The Kishwaukee Valley is a region in the greater Northern Illinois area primarily located near the Kishwaukee River's two branches. It includes the entirety of Boone and DeKalb Counties as well as western portions of McHenry County. The Kishwaukee's northern branch rises near Woodstock while the southern branches forms near Shabonna, a rural community south of DeKalb.
For a number of years, the Kishwaukee Valley was a largely rural area with a number of smaller industrialized areas (largely DeKalb and Belvidere). The explosion of growth in the Chicagoland region coupled with increased transportation access (via I-90 and I-88) to both Chicago and Rockford made for a corresponding increase in population and development in the area. Today, it is a diverse area with a mixture of agriculture, industry and services.
Most of the major towns in the area are accessible from either I-88 or I-90 (particularly DeKalb, Belvidere and Huntley. More rural areas are accessible through local numbered routes.
In terms of public transit, both Woodstock and Harvard have stops on Metra's (Chicago's commuter rail's) Union Pacific Northwest Line. DeKalb and Sycamore are also a short drive from Metra's Elburn station on the Union Pacific West Line. Chicagoland's Pace Bus Service also provides limited service to Woodstock and Harvard.
While some communities are accessible by Metra, car is by far the most popular and convenient form of travel. Some major routes in the area include:
- US 20: This major east-west route connects Marengo, Belvidere and Rockford.
- IL 23: This major north-south route connects to DeKalb, Sycamore, Marengo and Harvard.
- IL 173: A major east-west route in the northern portion of the area, it connects Harvard to Rockford's northern suburbs.