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McHenry County Conservation District manages over 25,000 acres of diverse woodlands, wetlands and prairie. Explore outdoor recreational opportunities, programs and special events at 33 sites.
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.
Pleasant Creek Campground is located 5 miles from the entrance of Starved Rock State Park in the gateway town of Oglesby Illinois. Pleasant Creek Campground is situated in a wooded setting along a tributary of the Virmilion River, surrounded by hills and mature trees. Pleasant Creek Campground has undergone numerous renovations and upgrades. There are 140 spacious sites with plenty of room for slide-outs and awnings. A variety of sites are available. Several sites, including full hook-up sites, are located right along the creek. All sites include a fire ring, picnic table, and varying amount of shade. One highlight of the campground is a spring-fed fishing pond that is naturally maintained year round. Our Camp Store, located at the Welcome Center, is stocked with camping provisions, ice, firewood and all of the supplies that you may have forgotten to pack. Our Bathhouse is equipped with sinks, counter tops, showers, and a laundry room (coin operated). Illinois' Newest RV & Tenting Campground is located just 5 miles from Starved Rock State Park. We have Creekside Campsites, Stocked Fishing Pond, Well Supplied Camp Store. Our Campground Features: Campground Features, BBQs or Fire Pits, Bike & Walk Paths, Dump Station, Fishing Area, Pets Welcome (some restrictions), Picnic Pavilion, Recreation Hall and Security Our Nearby Activities are: Art Festivals, Fishing, Hiking & Biking Trails, Lake Fishing, Restaurants Nearby and Watercraft Rentals.
The Edward F.Vassallo Land and Water Reserve is a privately owned reserve located adjacent to White Pines State Forest. It was designated in 2014 as a state Land & Water Reserve by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and includes 130 acres of native wildflowers, plants, grasses, creek bottom, habitat for native wildlife, birds and insects and forest areas. Spring Creek, a tributary of Pine Creek, flows through the reserve. Today and forever, this land will remain in its natural condition as part of the Illinois Nature Preserve System and is a gift to present and future generations as a place where native plants and animals can thrive under wise stewardship and protection from harm. No motorized vehicles allowed. Nature lovers are welcome and walking paths can be accessed by calling contact number.
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.
Lake View Nature Center is dedicated to bringing fun, hands-on environmental education and recreation opportunities to promote awareness and appreciation of the natural world. Learn and play with hands-on exhibits, live animals, fishing pond, and summer paddleboat rentals.
Located only 26 miles southwest of Chicago. Over 200 acres of pristine Illinois native prairie, much like the area was pre-settlement. Wildflowers, birds, butterflies abound! Prairie slide shows and tours available with advanced notice.
Established in 1957 - public hunting, plus memberships for pheasant, quail, wild turkey, doves and deer in season. Hunter Safety Course for ages 16 & under - held the second weekend in October.
Features over 2000 acres of prime hunting south of Grayville, in White County.
Prepare for a summer adventure at the full-service marina offering long term slip rentals and transient rentals. Water-ski, cast a line from a fishing boat or join friends on a pontoon boat.
Enjoy a day in the country while learning about wildlife through nature displays and exhibits.
Located along Sugar Creek, about five miles north of Lincoln, Creekside the Outdoor Center for Environmental Education will be an experiential outdoor classroom featuring an outdoor teaching pavilion, insectarium, greenhouse, and a restored prairie. It will include parking space, bioswales, rain gardens, and boardwalks and sidewalks to make the site handicapped-accessible. When complete it will be powered by solar panels and a wind generator.
Located 14 miles southwest of Decatur off Route 48 near Blue Mound. Hike the trail up the glacial kame to the observation deck for sweeping view of the prairie. Picnic facilities and playground.
A state-licensed hunting preserve, we provide hunters with a good environment and quality deer management. Also quail, pheasant,chukar and dove hunting available. Package prices available upon request for walk-in hunts, corporate & business hunts.
With over 3,500 acres of cropland & 1700 acres of prime woods, this newly formed business is for the trophy whitetail, turkey or coyote hunter. New lodge, hot evening meals, competitive prices; will pickup from Evansville Airport.
Clean, dry and heated pits. Yearly membership and day hunting available. Excellent hunting in fields (2 pits). Plus hunting in one pit over water. 3/4 mile on refuge frontage. Guides available.
Located in rural Jasper County, northeast of Newton, Illinois Wildlife features a lodge for hunters during deer seasons and in the off-seasons hosting meetings, receptions and off-season lodging.
Located 1.7 miles west of Illinois Route 148 on Grassy Road just south of the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge. Waterfowl hunting on 960 acres. Guides available. One of the top three harvest clubs in the southern Illinois quota zone.
Get in touch with nature in this beautiful wooded setting near the Des Plaines River, where you can view local wild animals that have been rescued from the surrounding area.
Trophy Whitetail Deer bow hunts since 1986. Also, spring turkey hunting, sporting clays, trap range, meals, and lodging. Heavily wooded ravines and valleys, magnificent stands of oak, maple and cedar, and grassy meadows.
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.
Duck and goose hunting, 1 blind, waterfront, decoys available. Lunch provided.
Hunt from heated pits over flooded corn, natural wetlands, food plots, and over 2 miles of levee controlled water on 100 acres. 530 total acres devoted to waterfowl hunting, excellent duck hunting. Corporate rates and custom packages available. Located 1 mile south of Marion on the west side of Route 37.
DuPage's premier wildlife rehabilitation and educational facility. Over 90 species of injured native wild animals are on exhibit. Open daily. Donations encouraged.
Surrounded by a ridge covered with thousands of pine trees, Sandy Pine has some of the largest and top-ranked elk bulls in the Midwest. Take a tour through the pasture and snap some photos.
Located in one of the country's top states for producing Trophy Whitetail Deer, along with the Eastern Wild Turkey. Situated on privately owned land, the cabin is surrounded by hardwood timber, river bottoms, and rich farm fields. Fox Creek offers guided and non-guided deer hunts each season. Several cabins are available for hunters.
Explore the natural beauty and animal habitats of this 45-acre wetlands preserve. Nature programs for all ages include bird surveys, seed collections, planting, clean-ups and hiking.
Hiking, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, birdwatching and limited hunting are available at this 750-acre park along Salt Creek.
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.
Experienced birder, knowledgeable about a variety of birding habitats in the Galena/Jo Daviess County Area, offers guided field trips on selected Saturdays. Private trips available by appointment.
Nature is wonderfully displayed in this silent forest that glaciers carved thousands of years ago. The prairie extends along the riverbanks, rich in plant and animal life.
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.
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River, Stephenson County's water trail, as is meanders nearly 60 miles through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. Access the river at McNeil's Damascus Landing which offers ample parking, a picnic area, fire pit and charcoal grills, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock and canoe/kayak and concrete boat launch with access docking. Camping at the site is available for canoe, kayaks and boaters. Reservations required.
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.
William Creek meanders through this park, providing habitat for an abundance of wildlife. Set in 770 acres of rolling terrain and steep hillsides, Weinberg-King is popular in winter for its cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
The premiere, upland-hunting experience in Northern Illinois. Quarry Ridge offers hunting (member or non-member) for rooster pheasant, dove, turkey, deer and moor. Dogs and guides can be provided if needed.
This center features local natural history exhibits, hands-on displays for children, and family programs that are offered throughout the year. Picnic facilities and camping are available by reservation.
Beautiful city park with fountain, playground, picnic shelter, butterfly garden and benches to enjoy the summer concerts and community events. Open to the public during daylight hours, includes a large playground and walking paths.
This area currently winters nearly 100,000 of the 850,000 Canadian geese that spend the cold-weather months in Illinois. Numerous shallow sloughs and other water areas are scattered throughout its 6,202 acres.
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.
A 3,000 ft. wheelchair-accessible pathway at lake level and wood-chipped trails wind through forested areas. An elevated walkway spans the wetlands and two observation towers, a wildlife viewing blind, an outdoor amphitheater and classroom.
Upland game bird hunting from Oct. 1 - April. Dogs & guide service available. Located 3 miles west of Jct. Hwy. 37 & Hwy. 169, or, 4 miles east of I-57 just off Shawnee College Road.
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.
12 parks that offer diverse activities. Fishing, picnics, baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, hiking trails and playgrounds.
22 species of fish are found in this lake, including bass, white crappie, channel catfish, bullhead, yellow bass, bluegill, and carp. This 1,100-acre lake is surrounded by native oak and hickory forests. Picnicking, hiking, and limited hunting and trapping.
The 1,683-acre site has a 75-acre lake where families can picnic, fish, paddle boat, camp and enjoy the good food at the on-site restaurant.
Rustic setting available for retreats, picnics, camps, nature studies or a team course.
Picnic area, pond for fishing & ice skating with handicap accessible fishing pier, Gerald Strohecker natural area with native woodland, prairie and wetland.
5,800 acres vary from flat bottomlands to rolling forestlands. Fields throughout the site provide for 1,000 acres of planted food for wildlife. Game hunting for rabbit, quail and waterfowl is allowed. Fishing is available at 25 strip-pit lakes and ponds.
Recreation area includes group camping, walk-in camp sites, swimming, and picnicking facilities. Handicap accessible restrooms and fishing pier.
This natural area comprimises 532 acres of forest, prairie and flowering trees, with a trail and pond.
CITY:East St. Louis
As a major stopping point for migrating ducks and geese, this 9,486-acre area offers excellent public waterfowl hunting opportunities.
Offers a timbered nature trail, a small prairie plot, and a quiet fishing lake on its 148 acres.
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.
This 25-acre wildlife park, featuring remnants of the original tallgrass Illinois prairie, features a butterfly house.
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.
Guests have the opportunity to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats to explore the rivers and lakes at Kickapoo State Park. Canoe and kayak trips (8 or 13 mile) are offered or rentals can be done by the hour. Following your adventure, guests can grab a bite to eat at the on-site Dockside Cafe which offers live music throughout the summer.
57-acre wetlands preserve features wildflower, birds, and wildlife, which may be viewed from an observation deck.
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.
One of the largest state-owned and managed sites in Illinois, located 35 miles southeast of St. Louis. The land and water area total more than 20,000 acres of river and bottomland. It contains 36 miles of river.
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.
Environment Education Center - offers cross country skiing in the winter.
A 9.960-acre bottomland environment of sloughs and backwater lakes, Sanganois is managed primarily to provide a refuge for migratory waterfowl and a public duck hunting area.
Borders Spring Lake Park and is habitat for deer, turkey, fox, geese, beaver and coyotes. Trails and educational programs offered.
Bordering the refuge on N.E. corner. Traditional hunting of the highest quality. Only 2 hunters per pit with experienced mandatory guides, two pits, 1-water access, 1000 decoys, free snacks. Over forty-two years as an experienced club.
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.
Fishing, boating, picnicking in the out-of-doors.
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.
Beautiful. untouched nature preserve which way originally purchased by the Knobeloch family in 1874. After a family disagreement, the land was auctioned off to the nature conservancy and then sold to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Hunting for upland game, fur-bearers and deer is encouraged on its 2,265 scenic acres that overlook the Mississippi River.
The largest of all the state forests in Illinois. Covers 7,100 acres of native oak-hickory forests and pine plantations. Supports diverse desert flora and fauna in its sandy landscape as well as also offering a variety of recreational facilities.
Over 25,000 acres, nearly 140 miles of trails and educational facilities. Enjoy relaxing, volunteering and exploring the forests, lakes, prairies, and open spaces.
With nearly 1,100 of its 1,380 acres primarily composed of oak and hickory stands, this area offers exceptional habitat for deer and squirrel, and is a good hunting area as well. In the winter, sight-seers ofter spot bald eagles along the Illinois River.
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
6-acre park donated to the village in 1891 by David McWilliams, the first banker and business person in the community. It is named after the Prince of Wales, Baron Renfrew, who visited the area while on a hunting expedition in 1860.
Ryerson Conservation Area is one of the best examples of a northern flatwoods forest, a rare northern Illinois landscape. The 552-acre Preserve supports some of Illinois' most pristine woodlands and several state-threatened and endangered species, and offers 6.5 miles of scenic trails that wind through a stately forest to the quiet Des Plaines River. The Welcome Center, opened in 2006, features "green" architecture and was designed using LEED standards. In addition to preserve information, it offers a nature library, exhibits and meeting rooms.
A 6,400-acre wildlife area on the north end of Lake Shelbyville. Hunting for waterfowl, forest and upland game is popular. Boat access is provided to accommodate anglers and hunters.
Spring Lake Park in Macomb, IL. has three different singletrack trails ranging in intermediate to difficult. At 10 miles in length this park has a nice smattering of everything an adrenaline junky would want. The trails here are tight in some spots with a few ladder bridges, log piles and even a teeter-totter, and the hills just keep coming with jumps that make you feel weightless.
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.
During Christmas, Sherwood Forest is adorned with decorations and twinkling lights. Any time of year view a variety of animals, including turkeys, rabbits, peacocks, llamas, and miniature goats and deer.
Approximately 5,000 acres are timber, while there are 46 miles of trails for activities including horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and bicycling. Boating is permitted. Camping with electricity.
The Union County Refuge in Union offers a popular spot for bald eagle watching. Visitors can view bald eagles and take wildlife photography off the main road, which runs down the middle of the wildlife refuge. Park rangers will be available weekdays to answer questions about the eagles and other wildlife spotted in the refuge. Admission is free. For more information on eagle watching, contact the Union County Refuge (618-833-5175).
The area features some of the finest and most extensive prairie-marsh and sand dune vegetation remaining in Illinois. Primarily operated as a permit pheasant hunting area, hiking, picnicking, and snowmobiling opportunities are also available.
This sugar maple forest provides the sweet sap necessary for annual maple sugar programs, and is also known for its magnificent display of spring wildflowers. Activities include hiking, x-country skiing, picnic shelters and scenic views.
Rock Springs Center is the largest park in the Macon County Conservation District properties with a total of 1,343 acres in the southwest area of Decatur, IL. The Sangamon River runs through Rock Springs and several small ponds dot the landscape. A wide range of terrain including forest, wetland, grassland, and restored Illinois prairie make Rock Springs a destination for nature lovers. Rock Springs is also home to a large nature center, a museum, a restored farmhouse, nearly nine miles of hiking trails, and a paved bike trail. Rock Springs is a favorite for families all year round. Rooms and pavilions are available for rent for meetings and events.
The Boone County Conservation District manages over 3,00 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands in scenic Boone County, Illinois. Minimum impact recreational opportunities, special events and educational programs are offered to the public throughout the year.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
Dawn until dusk, a 36 m. trail is the forefront of outdoor recreation passing through Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Aurora. It winds along the banks of the Fox River through miles of prairie grass, overshadowing trees and blooming flowers.
Trophy whitetail hunts in scenic Southernmost IL. Hunts are offered September 15th through December. The farm consists of mature timber, pine and cedar thickets, thick draws and open area food plots. All hunts are with an experienced guide.
A part of the Apple River Canyon State Park Complex, the Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area is 1,100 acres for public hunting and nature viewing. Beginning of a transcontinental bluebird trail segment. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #4.
Lake Vermilion County Park includes a boat ramp, dock complex, concession building, playground, and an open shelter. The park is open year round and considered 'high-use' during summer weekends with power boating (unlimited HP), jet skiing, water skiing, and fishing tournaments. Wildlife observation includes herons, river otters, and eagles. Lake Vermilion, 1,000 acres in size, is one of Illinois' most heavily stocked fishing lakes with bass, tiger muskies, catfish, crappie, and walleye being frequently fished.
950 foot floating boardwalk. Songbirds, season migratory birds, and waterfowl such as Canadian geese, mallards, wood ducks, kingfishers, green herons, and American egret all flock to the area. Also includes an observation tower to take in the "wide-angle" view.