Showing 1-96 of 213 items found in Outdoors & Play
Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway
Explore the heart of America! Follow the Mississippi River as it winds its way along Illinois' western border from Galena to Cairo. Experience over 550 miles of small towns, big cities, historic sites, recreational areas, cultural attractions and museums. Follow the green and white paddle wheel signs as they guide your next adventure!
Sugar Grove Nature Center
Sugar Grove Nature Center is located in beautiful, historic Funks Grove among over 1,000 acres of forest and prairie. Funks Grove is the largest remaining intact prairie grove in the state of Illinois and is a designated National Natural Landmark. Visitors will enjoy interpretive exhibits, live animals and a wildlife viewing room as well as access to 5 miles of hiking trails. The Imagination Grove Nature Play Area welcomes children to explore, tromp in the creek, climb a tree, ride a zip line and more. A picnic shelter, astronomy observatory, blacksmith forge, corn crib prairie lookout, variety of gardens and many other features help to make Sugar Grove Nature Center a beautiful and unique place. Visit the website to learn more about special events and programs.
McCully Heritage Project
The McCully Heritage Project is a natural area made up of 940 acres of hills and hollows in Calhoun County, Illinois. The project offers 15 miles of hiking and horse back riding trails, two ponds for fishing and turtle watching, a wetland with a boardwalk, a hill prairie plot and more. Hiking is pleasant even in the summer as the wooded trails provide plenty of shade. Facilities are available for group activities, large and small. The focus of the McCully Heritage Project is upon cultural and environmental enjoyment, education, and preservation. The general public is welcome to hike, picnic, bird watch, and enjoy the natural beauty of the site. The McCully Heritage Project is located about 1 mile south of Kampsville, Illinois, off of Illinois Route 100. Take Crawford Creek Road west about 1/2 mile to MHP.
The Nature Institute
The Nature Institute is a non-profit land conservation and environmental education organization based in Godfrey, IL. Since its founding in 1980, The Nature Institute's board and staff have worked to foster an awareness and appreciation of the natural world through preservation, restoration, and education. The Nature Institute also owns and manages over 450 acres of protected land, such as the Olin Nature Preserve, the Mississippi Sanctuary, the Kemp and Cora Hutchinson Bird Sanctuary, and the Heartland Prairie Project at Gordon Moore Park. These natural areas provide unique places for the public to experience the diversity of the Riverbend area with its hardwood forests, prairies and wetlands. The preserves are open to the public and free to use from dawn to dusk.
Tuttys Crossing Trailhead
Tutty’s Crossing Trailhead provides easy access to the Jane Addams Trail and to the Pecatonica Prairie Trail (under development). It is located on the banks of the Pecatonica River. A bridge, part of the Pecatonica Prairie Trail, crosses the river and provides scenic views. The Trailhead provides parking, a boat ramp, and walking area. Future planned developments include a shelter/restroom, fishing/observation pier, picnic tables, and floating dock. Open: Dawn to Dusk
Jane Addams Trail
This multi-use 17 mile trail offers beautiful scenery and 22 bridges, including a covered bridge in Orangeville, passing wetlands, creeks, woods, prairies, geologic formations and farmland. The trail, named after Jane Addams, the Nobel Peace Prize humanitarian and Hull House settlement founder born and raised in nearby Cedarville, is part of the Grand Illinois Trail which traverses northern Illinois from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The 13 miles of the trail is a crushed limestone surface which may be used by hikers, bicyclists, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiers. Trail maps are available.
Big Rock Forest
This forest preserve has miles of wooded trails and a quarry lake suitable for hiking and horseback. Fishing, canoeing and kayaking permitted in season.
Forest Park is a municipal park with the Chautauqua Auditorium, Vietnam Memorial, Family Aquatic Center, picnic areas, pavilions, baseball & softball diamonds, fishing lagoon (Crystal Lake), skateboard park, soccer fields, a youth athletic center, and more. There is an entrance to the General Dacey trail at the back of the park and the Memorial Sunken Gardens have been revitalized. The park is also home to the Festival of Lights.
Red Oak Nature Center
Nestled on the east bank of the Fox River, the Red Oak Nature Center is surrounded by 40 acres of lush forest and wildlife habitat – an ideal setting for visitors to learn about the great outdoors through direct interaction with nature. Free admission includes: Wildlife Room, Bee Room, Discovery Room, Devil's Cave, Observation Deck, Picnic Shelter and six wood-chip hiking trails. Open year-round. Red Oak Nature Center offers snowshoe rentals during regular operating hours from December to March when snow cover accumulates at least 3 inches on the ground.
Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Center
Encompassed in 100 acres of lush greenery, Loyola University's Retreat and Ecology Campus provides a serene setting for overnight retreats, meetings, team building, classes, and private/community events. Open year-round, the campus can accommodate groups of 12-200 guests. Facility highlights include one of the largest challenge courses in the state, culinary team building, farm workshops, comfortable housing/meeting spaces, sustainable dining options, a fire pit, basketball/ tennis courts, and hiking trails. Loyola is committed to maintaining the biodiversity of the campus and encourages sustainability, conservation, and restoration efforts.
Trails for bird watchers and nature lovers; 200 acres.
Willowhaven Interpretive Center
Whispering Willows Park at Willowhaven Interpretive Center features open prairies, wetlands, interpretive gardens and 1.5 miles of limestone trails surrounding two scenic ponds. All trails begin and end at the Willowhaven Interpretive Center scenic outlook.
Franklin Creek State Natural Area
Developed by local volunteers, it offers scenic trails, horseback riding, fishing, and limited hunting. The site contains the historic Franklin Creek Grist Mill and a 180-acre dedicated nature preserve.
Sand Creek Conservation Area
Sand Creek is a 755-acre open space site located just south of Decatur off South Franklin Street. Hike the trails to the bluff overlooking Sand Creek for panoramic view of the countryside. Over 7.5 total miles with varying difficulty. Open to hikers & horseback riders.
Paris City Bluebird Trail
Visit these scattered sites to witness the return of the bluebird to Illinois. The trail and Sycamore Golf Club are two links in the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail.
Black Hawk Park
The city of Paris operates this property on Twin Lakes. Wander the trails to see plants and animals that live in the woods, on marshy land and on the lake. Special nesting boxes have brough bluebirds to the meadows.
Dodds Park offers picnic and playground areas, flower gardens, three shelter houses, concession stand, two lighted tennis courts, volleyball and basketball courts, two lighted ball diamonds, horseshoe pits, batting cages and two shuffleboard courts.
Prehistoric dwellers left their marks on the rock walls. Petroglyphs depict animals, humans, geometric figures, and crosses.
Large, wooded park offers 43 acres of timber, grassland & bottomland with picnic and playground areas, hiking trails, cross-country skiing, fishing, and a small boat launch on Yellow Creek
Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy
Private natural area owned by the Nature Conservancy. Highlights are 1500 acres of prairie, wetlands, and savanna woodlands. Grassland flowers, birds and butterflies to observe.
Red Oak Nature Center
A visit to the center will help folks learn about the native plants and animals of the Fox River Valley. Interpretive center, hiking trails, and tours of Devil's Cave.
Washington County State Recreational Area
The 248-acre Washington County Lake offers wildlife viewing, fishing and hiking, as well as 900 surrounding acres for hunting. The natural area also has picnic and camping sites.
Irons Oaks Enviromental Center
Call for details
Stephenson-Black Hawk Trail
This scenic 13-mile trail for hiking and biking through the rolling hill of northwest Illinois offers both history and nature. The trail, as it follows county and township roads, is partially paved. Attractions include early pioneer sites, one of the highest natural points in the state, and also Blackhawk war sites. Trail maps are available at the Lena Community Park District Office. For those who complete the trail, trail patches and medals are available for purchase.
Devil's Backbone/ Devil's Bake Oven
A ridge that runs parallel to the Mississippi River. Offers spectacular views, but with a steep ascent and descent (not an easy hike).
Enjoy this park offering a picnic area, playground, shelter and restroom facilities as well as access to the Pecatonica Prairie Path which is currently under construction. The Pecatonica River may also be accessed for boating and canoeing approximately 200 yards from the park.
This 34-acre park located next to the Big Muddy River includes a public boat ramp, picnic areas, ball fields, hiking trails, a pavilion, historic band shell and playground areas.
Rollins Savanna Trails
Rollins Savanna Trails in beautiful Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve is a outdoor enthusiasts dream; with 5.7-miles of easy to moderate terrain and a thriving habitat to explore. The landscape is dotted with ponds and marshes. Take a walk through lush prairie and thriving wetlands and see why the National Audubon Society named it one of America’s most important bird sites in 2005.
Dakota Nature Trail
The Dakota Nature Trail for biking, hiking, and cross-county skiing links Dakota Park with the Dorothy Wirth Nature Area. The trail surface is crushed limestone and follows a former railroad right-of-way. The trail begins on Main Street in Dakota.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Hennepin Feeder Canal Trail
The Hennepin Feeder Canal Trail located just south of Rock Falls is where you will pick up this medium to difficult trail. Cyclists, hikers and anglers come to enjoy the stocked waters, the peaceful wooded banks and the abundance of bird life. As the trail heads south toward the rural countryside the path frees itself from the throngs of people allowing you to enjoy the serene environment all to yourself.
Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve
Just 20 miles from downtown Chicago, located in Oak Brook, IL is the Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve. It’s an easy hike consisting of a 3.2-mile loop. The trail is good for all skill levels and offers a number of activity options. Nearly all of the hike follows Salt Creek as it winds around the bluff and past a few islands on its way to the historic watermill at the south tip of the park.
Crazy Horse Campground
Crazy Horse is a 55-acre campground blanketed with rolling hills, hiking trails through wooded land, and two large ponds for fishing, boating, and a swimming beach. A lodge for rest and relaxation and a playground for the little ones makes this campground a great place to get away for the season or the weekend! Check out our wide, level sites with full hook-ups as well as our primitive camping area. Call 217-886-2089 or stop by and see us. We're located 8 miles north of Jacksonville and 25 miles west of Springfield, and we're happy to show you around!!
Wapello Land & Water Reserve
Experience Native American mounds, prairie and the Apple River. Hike beginner trails. Pets welcome. Fishing allowed.
Keough Effigy Land & Water Reserve
Explore the past along Keough's hiking trails. Come and see its mining and Native American history.
Center Children's Farm
Experience life down on the farm during guided family tours, or take a hike on the peaceful nature trail.
The Millennium Reserve
The Millennium Reserve stretches from downtown Chicago to the Indiana border and suburban Park Forest. It encompasses numerous neighborhoods, the Southeast lakefront, and 37 South suburban municipalities. In aggregate, the Reserve includes a collection of over 15,000 acres of open space such as trails, wetlands, and forest preserves; Making it ideal for runners, bikers and kayakers alike.
YWCA Camp Tu-Endie-Wei
Trails, fishing, cross-country skiing, skating, cabins on Willow Lake.
George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail
Enjoy a scenic ride or walk along this new concrete trail inside Fort Massac State Park. Use of the bicycle and pedestian path is free, and parking is located inside Fort Massac State Park. Upon its completion, the 9 mile trail will begin at Superman Square, continue through Fort Massac State Park, and end in the city of Brookport.
Wards Grove Nature Preserve
Wards Grove is the best “mound forest” remaining in the Driftless Area. 335 protected acres of woodlands with populations of sensitive plant and animal species.
Bicentennial Riverfront Park
Bicentennial Riverfront Park is a five-acre community park on the south bank of the Fox River. Bicentennial Riverfront Park makes optimum use of the river, with abundant fishing, plus canoe and kayak access to the white water chute. There is also a beautiful view of the Glenn Palmer Dam as you follow the trail along the river and the picnic area, playground and river-side pavilion are popular community gathering spots in the summertime.
Tapley Woods State Natural Area
This 260-acre timbered property provides public hunting areas, hiking and nature viewing.
Richland Creek Trailhead
The Richland Creek Trailhead serves as the main trailhead for the northern end of the Jane Addmas Recreation Trail. It features parking, a large shelter house with electricity, lights and picnic tables, a restroom, water and a primitive campground area.
Featuring 240 acres, Nature Center, parking, boat launches and Rock River access, fishing, hiking, nature preserve, cross-country skiing, shelters, grills, playground equipment, and more. Ronald Reagan saved 77 lives here as a lifeguard during his boyhood years.
Forest Preserve District of Cook County's Camp Sagawau is an environmental education center established to promote the study of nature. Call for program schedule.
Home to newly added in-line hockey rink. Sitting on 30 acres, five tennis courts, soccer field and basketball court, walking track 4 to 10 mile.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Nature center with 3 miles of walking/hiking trails through woodland, wetland, and prairie. Exhibit building displays local wildlife. Educational activities year round.
Schurmeier Teaching Forest
Two miles of beginner and intermediate hiking trails, educational signage teaches about tree and forestry practices. This forest is the perfect place to spend the day. Horses welcome!
Gebhard Woods State Park
Hikers, campers, picnickers, and canoeists frequent this 30-acre site, making it one of the state's most popular state parks. Fishing, boating and bird watching are also popular activities. This picturesque park is bordered on the south by the Illinois & Michigan Canal and to the north by Nettle Creek which gently flows along the perimeter and through the park adding to its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. Stately old trees including walnut, oak, ash, maple, sycamore, hawthorn and cottonwood provide ample shade throughout the park. In the spring, trillium, bluebell, white trout lily, violets, wild ginger, phlox, toothwort and spring beauties are just a sample of the wildflowers that can be enjoyed by park visitors.
Newton Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area
This 1,775 acre lake features 540 acres of shoreline as a day use conservation area. Recreational activities include fishing, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and hunting.
Lincoln-Prairie Grass Trail
two miles of paved surface and 10 miles of aggregate surface. Jogging, walking, equestrian riding and biking permitted.
Sand Ridge Nature Center
Owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Sand Ridge Nature Center emphasizes the natural history of the Calumet region.
Rall Woods State Natural Area
280 acres for public hunting, hiking, nature viewing. Area has native hilltop prairies and views of the Mississippi River.
Waterfall Glen Hike
Waterfall Glen Hike in DuPage County is a nice, moderate hike. This trail wraps around Argonne National Laboratory and is 11.4 miles long. The main path consists of crushed limestone, but it is ok to take the side trails that are mowed grass or part of an abandoned railroad track. Most of the path is under a tree canopy. Marshes and swamps abound in this area so be sure to bring some insect repellent.
North Branch Trail
The North Branch Trail stretches from Chicago to the northern suburbs. Starting at the Bunker Hill Forest Preserve it twists through 15 miles of small bluffs, ponds, prairie, open grassy parkways and quaint little streams that trickle into the Chicago River. Paved with asphalt, The North Branch Trail makes for an easy to medium level of difficulty.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve
Explore the acres of woods and lakes, with scenic trails, shelters and views of Aurora and Chicago's skyline.
McDonald Woods Forest Preserve
The McDonald Woods Forest Preserve in Lindenhurst, offers gentle, rolling grassy terrain. It’s the perfect place to hike, bicycle and cross-country ski. Take the 3.8-mile loop around the woods and wetlands for some great exercise. A 0.3-mile wood-chip trail designed for hiking and cross-country skiing leads to a basswood and sugar maple forest, glowing yellow in autumn. A cooling ravine beckons below where migrant songbirds feast on insects, and water skimmers dart atop the clear water.
Fox River Trail
32 miles of biking, hiking and cross-country skiing featuring some of the most scenic trails of the Fox River. Points of interest include Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.
Great Western Trail
This 17-mile trail replaces the abandoned main line of the Chicago Great Western Railroad. It is a flat easy ride connecting the communities of St. Charles and Sycamore.
Willowhaven Interpretive Center
A facility of the Bourbonnais Township Park District, The Willowhaven Interpretive Center is a free hands-on museum that houses natural and historical exhibits, provides the community a place to learn, explore, and enjoy the splendors of nature! Displays focus on Illinois wildlife, conservation and natural history. The most popular displays include hands-on discovery tables with pelts, nests, feathers, tracks and more. The center also has live animal displays, aquariums, a children's reading nook, computer tables and a microscope lab table.
The Busse Woods Trail system is located within Ned Brown Forest Preserve, a 3,700-acre property in the western suburbs of Chicago. There are 11.2 miles of paved trails for cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians. The main loop is nearly 8 miles, circling some lakes and meadows, while a couple of much shorter side loops will take you to the north and south end of the forest preserve. The Busse Woods Trail connects with the Schaumburg Bikeway on the west, and on the north, Busse Woods links to the Rolling Meadows Bikeway system. Some key features of the forest preserve include fishing, boat rentals and a small herd of captive resident elk. The trails are open from sunrise to sunset.
Stephen A. Forbes State Park
Located among the rolling hills of Southwestern Illinois, this park has a beach and offers boating, camping, fishing, hiking, swimming, and other activities. 140 camp sites open year round for outdoor lovers
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area
Largest tall grass prairie in Illinois. Big bluestem, Indian grass, and switchgrass thrive here, as do broad-leafed flowering plants known as forbs. Hiking and cross-country skiing.
Lincoln Trail Memorial
This memorial commemorates the crossing of the Lincoln Family from Indiana to Illinois in early March of 1830.
Perry Farm Park
Enthusiasts of all kinds find enjoyment in the wide array of activities the park offers including 4-miles of fully accessible paved paths that wind through natural prairie, woods and riverfront of the Perry Farm site.
Rocktown Adventures is a specialty outdoor retailer and adventure club. They offer sales, rentals, lessons, guided trips and related apparel for kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. They also carry camping equipment, lifestyle apparel and transportation equipment. Rocktown's mission is to help you gear up and head out. They carry top equipment sold by knowledgeable staff. Their experienced instructors love to share their passion for the outdoors. The trip guides know the waterways and trails like the back of their hand. The shop is conveniently located near an abundance of recreational assets waiting to be discovered by you!
Wright Woods Forest Preserve
The Wright Woods Forest Preserve located in Mettawa offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hikers, bicyclists and skiers that circles a pond, and a 3-mile loop for hikers, bicyclists, skiers and horses. This preserve also has footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River, which links Wright Woods to Half Day Forest Preserve.
Lincoln Prairie Trail
This paved hiking and biking trail follows a historic rail bed for 15 miles across the Illinois prairie.
Forest Preserve District of Will County
Biking and running trails, bird watching, camping, cross-country skiing, sledding, outdoor ice skating, canoeing and rafting and fishing. The district office provides all information on preserves and issues picnic permits.
Deer Grove Forest Preserve
Located in Palatine, IL, Deer Grove Forest Preserve has trails that offer a moderate level of difficulty. At almost 10 miles in length, the hiking trials make Deer Grove worth a visit. Split into two very individual sites connected by paved and unpaved trials, the east preserve features open wetlands surrounded by old fields and an in-progress savanna and prairie restoration. The west side is wilder, the forest denser and crisscrossed with footpaths along the rolling terrain. Quite woodlands, white-tailed deer and a completely different experience await the hiker on the west side. Both paths are equally enchanting.
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
Enjoy 9,300 acres of great outdoor picnicking, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing. Fall foliage, winter offers ice fishing, snowmobiling on frozen lake. 308 campsites, Private marina.
Oakdale Nature Preserve
This Nature Preserve offers 133 acres of oak and hickory woodlands, restored prairies and shallow streams. Over four miles of winding trails are great for hiking, running, cross-country skiing, nature study and quiet reflection. Facilities, which are available to rent, include the Mogle Learning Center with meeting space for 20 people and two picnic shelters.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches"). Several are located at the Rivers Project and interested individuals can attend this free 1 hour program on Saturdays, June through August,to learn more and get involved in geocaching.
Apple River Canyon State Park - Thompson/Salem Units
This 1,150 acre area allows hunting, fishing; no boating/biking. See postings/fact sheets at registration. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #2. The vegetative cover at the site is a mixture of steep timbered slopes and bluffs with grassland, row crops and hay fields predominate on ridge tops. The topography can be severe especially bordering the Apple River.
Nauvoo State Park
Offers a timbered nature trail, a small prairie plot, and a quiet fishing lake on its 148 acres.
Mill Creek Park
Mill Creek Park is located seven miles northwest of Marshall, Illinois on the Lincoln Heritage Trail road. Mill Creek consists of 2,600 acres of land and 811 acres of water with 39 miles of shoreline. Since opening, the park has continued to develop; there are picnic areas on either side of the boat launch and at areas around the lake, a 139 site campground with shower facilities and playground, 15 mile ATV trails, horse and walking trails, courtesy docks, cabin and boat rental including kayaks and paddle boats.
Rock Island Trail State Park
The Rock Island Trail provides 27 miles for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. One of the premier rails-to-trails facilities in Illinois, this trail is a sure-fire winner for the entire family.
Round Lake Area Park District
Round Lake Area Park District offers visitors a wide range of activities and facilities to enjoy. They include the Renwood Golf Course, the new sports center, the Prairie Grass Nature Museum, community theatre, outdoor pool/aquatic center, fitness center, child development center, teen center, senior center and acres of picturesque parklands. Private parties/outings at any of the facilities can be accommodated.
Eagle Creek State Park
A favorite of walkers and hikers, this park offers year-round camping and scenic hiking trails, many of them hugging Lake Shelbyville, Eagle Creek has 163 vehicular campsites, with 148 of those being Class A sites with electricity, picnic tables, and showers. There are 56 sites available by reservations made at least 2 weeks in advance by mail.
Lost Bridge Trail
This easy to traverse asphalt trail, starting in Sprigfield, winds you through wooded landscapes, over bridges and alongside a well-groomed community park.
Lake County Forest Preserve
We currently manage 25,268 acres of land and offer innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages. Visitors enjoy nearly 112 miles of trail for a variety of outdoor recreation uses, fishing ponds and lakes, public access to the Fox River, award-winning nature and history education programs and events, and three public golf courses. Facilities of special interest include Independence Grove near Libertyville, Ryerson Conservation Area near Deerfield, Lake County Discovery Museum near Wauconda, Greenbelt Cultural Center near Waukegan, and three golf courses (Brae Loch near Grayslake, Countryside near Mundelein, and ThunderHawk near Beach Park). Most Forest Preserves are open from 6:30 a.m. to sunset, every day of the year. Special hours apply at the golf courses, Discovery Museum, Greenbelt Cultural Center and Ryerson Woods.
Middle Fork Forest Preserve
Middle Fork Forest Preserve, 1600 acres in northeast Champaign County, offers visitors a campground (53 of 65 campsites have electricty), brand new playground, swimming beach, fishing, hiking, boat rentals, cross-country skiing, picnicking, a Waterfowl Management Area, renovated meeting facility and programs. The campground now accepts online reservations.
Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is 272 acre of wetlands offering a rare and fragile ecosystem, which includes endangered turtles, many birds and unique plant life. It is located near the intersection of U.S. Route 52 and Mormon Road about 3 miles south of Amboy. Open to the public 7 days a week for walking and bird-watching. No dogs are allowed due to sensitive plant and wildlife.
Jubilee College State Park
Home to one of the earliest educational enterprises in Illinois, the park and its sister site, Jubilee College State Historic Site, are located 15 miles northwest of Peoria near Kickapoo. In addition, to the rich history of the college, the park offers hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and camping. Jubilee College State Park has more than 40 miles of multi-use trails that wind through woodland, hills, ravines and prairies. Mountain bikers are reminded that horses have the right-of-way on the trails.
Lake Lou Yaeger
Lake Lou Yaeger, this 1400+ acre lake offers 45 miles of beautiful shoreline and several recreational opportunities. Visitors can enjoy boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, and camping. The 300 acre park has five picnic areas, two playgrounds, pavilions, grills, restrooms, and hiking trails. With miles of horse trails and a new equestrian campground with full hook-ups and shower house, Lake Lou is a great destination for horse enthusiasts. Milnot Beach has two diving platforms, showers, snack bar, and lifeguards on duty.
Blackwell Forest Preserve
Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois, has everything an outdoors fanatic could want. Hikers, bicyclers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers can enjoy more than 6 miles of turf and limestone trails, including a convenient route to the Illinois Prairie Path. Trails around the McKee Marsh area feature two observation decks, a bird blind, and signs that describe the history and ecological significance of the marsh.
Marengo Ridge - McHenry County Conservation District
The major glacial feature at Marengo Ridge Conservation area is the Marengo Ridge, from which the site derives its name. Left by the retreating Wisconsin glacier, the Marengo Ridge moraine is 40 miles long and 3 miles wide, creating one of the steepest vertical moraines in Illinois, at 1,050 feet above sea level. This rugged, fire-protected topography supported wooded communities dominated by oak species. Site features hiking trails, campground, picnic shelters, scenic views, x-country skiing, and fishing.
Hike or bike into Buehler Preserve from Galena and experience the prairie life! Pets welcome. Fishing is allowed.
Illinois Prairie Path
The Illinois Prairie Path was the first successful "rail-to-trail" conversion in the United States and inspired a national rail-to-trail movement in the United States in the mid-1960s. The trail is named for its rare segments of original, thousand year-old prairies. With 62 miles of biking, hiking, jogging, equestrian, and nature trails, this is an amazing natural resource that encompasses 4 towns: Elgin, Aurora, Batavia and Geneva and 3 counties. The surface is both asphalt and crushed stone.
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center
The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center is a joint project of the Homewood-Flossmoor (HF Parks.com) and Olympia Fields (OF Parks.com) park districts. The near 40-acre nature preserve is home to a diversity of wildlife and habitat types. See beautiful woods, wildflowers, birds and furry friends along the way. There are trails along both sides of the park which is located at Vollmer and Western Avenues in Olympia Fields. Please be careful when crossing Vollmer Road. The Park is open to the public daily, sunrise to sunset
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
Experience a commanding view of the Mississippi River and the only known intact thunderbird effigy mound in Illinois. Hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, Native American archaeology and much more on 85 acres of scenic Mississippi River bluffs.
Kankakee River State Park
The 4,000-acre park extends along both sides of the Kankakee River offering unspoiled settings that are surrounded by scenic bluffs and woods. The park includes hiking trails, biking trails, canoeing, fishing, camping, cross-country skiing, snowmobile trails, picnic areas, hunting, boat launches, and much more! In addition there are several shelters available for picnic events.
Shabbona Lake State Park
Shabbona Lake State Park has 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life. With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
Adams Wildlife Sanctuary
A green oasis located in the center of town, the sanctuary is open for hiking or strolling the one-mile nature trail from sunrise to sunset.
Lake Katherine Trail
Lake Katherine Trail is a 3.2-mile trail of moderate difficulty, located near Palos Heights, Illinois. This 1.5-hour hike over wood chip, dirt and gravel roads is one of the best urban nature walk trails in the area. The Preserve features an attractive lake, an arboretum, a waterfall garden, an herb and conifer garden and expansive views from atop a ridge in the eastern section.
Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial
This is the site of Abraham Lincoln's first Illinois home. Bisected by the Sangamon River, the site also features picnicking and hiking.