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Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

Seeing the Leaves: A Guide to Elgin Area Forest Preserves and Nature Centers

Seeing the Leaves: A Guide to Elgin Area Forest Preserves and Nature Centers

We have reached the sweet spot in the year. Leaves are turning all shades of beautiful reds, oranges and yellows while the temperature remains perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Before the chill of winter rolls in, enjoy a comfortable walk around some of the most scenic spots throughout the Elgin area.

Festival Park – Fox River Bike Trail

Nature Centers

Bartlett Nature Center
2054 W Stearns Rd. Bartlett, IL 60103

Bartlett Nature Center, 2054 W. Stearns Rd, includes exhibits, programming, special events, rental opportunities, scout programs and more.

See the Trail Map

 Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
28 Brookside Drive. Elgin, IL 60123

This nature center sits on 67 acres of natural space and provides year round opportunities for experiencing nature. Explore the trails to witness the rich fall colors, snow-frosted trees, spring wildflowers, summer amphibians, and an ever changing host of birds. Events are currently being held and include: Autumn Scavenger Hunt and Hike, Nature Arts and Crafts,  and Wilderness Explorers.

See the Trail Map           See Events

Max McGraw Nature Center
33W632 Sunset Park Dr. Dundee Township, IL 60118

Visit the Website

Forest Preserves

Bowes Creek Greenway Forest Preserve

This property is the creek corridor/greenway, wetlands and woodlands near Bowes Creek Country Club. Habitat restoration is underway on this property.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails
See the Trail Map

 

Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve
9N420 Crawford Rd. Elgin, IL

Bowes Creek Woods sees more and more visitors each year. It’s a wonderful place for bird watching, jogging, walking or picnicking at the shelter.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Horseback Riding, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Burnidge Forest Preserve
14N035 Coombs Rd. Elgin, IL

One of the largest preserves in the District, you’ll enjoy 9 miles of hiking trails here, including a 2.25-mile, multipurpose trail suitable for hiking, biking or equestrian use. You’ll also be able to see plants and wildlife in their natural habitats.
Amenities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Picnic Areas, Shelters, Winter Activities
See the Trail Map

 

Edgewater Greenway Forest Preserve
Bowes Rd. Elgin, IL

This 96-acre property is north of Otter Creek Forest Preserve. Acquired in 2014, the property runs along parts of Otter Creek and Stoney Creek, and contains wetlands and trails.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails
See the Trail Map

 

Elgin Shores Forest Preserve
S. State St. Elgin, IL

The east side is primarily for the trail system. It was excess property of the Elgin Sanitary District, abandoned railroads and old industrial sites. The Fox River Trail joins the Illinois Prairie Path at this point. Trail users can proceed into Elgin or go to Wheaton and points south from this junction.
See the Trail Map

 

Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve
39W933 Russell Rd. Elgin, IL

A 40 acre savannah woodland at the southwest corner rises above the meandering creek and nearby, placid 2 acre pond. It is a woods of tall, gracious trees.
Amenities: Horseback Riding, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Otter Creek Forest Preserve
37W870 Hopps Rd. Elgin, IL

The preserve is transected by the Canadian National Railroad. There are two underpasses that allow hikers to walk between the two portions of the preserve.
See the Trail Map

 

Tyler Creek Forest Preserve
401 Davis Rd. Elgin, IL 60123

City oasis on a creek with forested slopes, hiking & biking trails & a large picnic shelter.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Voyageur Landing Forest Preserve
50 Airport Rd. Elgin, IL

Summer weekends are very busy because of the boat launch. The river pool is sizable on the north side of Elgin and boaters come from a wide area to enjoy boating activities. The Tyler Creek Trail connects to the Fox River Trail, running under the I-90 bridge to the east side of the river.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Boat/Canoe Launch, Fishing, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

Pratts Wayne Woods County Forest Preserve
Bartlett, IL 60103

Made up largely of wetlands, this landscape combines calcium-rich water with wet sandy soil to support plant life more commonly seen near Lake Michigan.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Fishing, Model Aircraft Fields, Picnic Areas
See the Trail Map

Hawk’s Hollow
Bartlett, IL 60103

The 1,172-acre Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve in Bartlett features grassy meadows, mature woodlands and fens and is bisected by the West Branch DuPage River.
Amenities: 
Bike & Nature Trails, Fishing, Off-Leash Dog Area
See the Trail Map

Brunner Family Forest Preserve
18N681 State Rte 31. Carpentersville, IL 60110

Preserve amenities include a picnic shelter, water pump, information kiosk, fishing access, interpretive signs, parking lot, restrooms, and nearly 5 miles of trail to explore across 723 acres! A 12-acre fen restoration is in progress, as is a 20-acre wetland restoration and a 60-acre prairie restoration, plus a farm store with local products.
See the Trail Map

 

Fox River Shores Forest Preserve
716 Williams Rd. Carpentersville

The one mile long waterfront is a major attraction of this site and summer weekends are alive with visitors. The Fox River Bike Trail runs the length of the property.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Boat/Canoe Launch, Fishing, Nature Preserves, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Raceway Woods Forest Preserve
State Rte 31. Carpentersville, IL 60110

Raceway Woods is a lovely 122 acre open space tract getting its name from the old race track that once wound around parts of it.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Historic Sites, Horseback Riding, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Freeman Kame – Meagher Forest Preserve
40W346 Freeman Rd. Gilberts, IL

The Freeman Kame-Meaagher Farm is some of Kane County’s most picturesque topography situated on the northern flank of the kettle-moraine complex north of Gilberts.
Amenities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Model Aircraft Fields
See the Trail Map

 

Hampshire Forest Preserve
44W780 Allen Rd. Hampshire, IL

Hampshire Forest Preserve has been a natural playground and picnic spot for area children and adults throughout the years. Trails for hiking and learning to recognize a wide variety of birds and wildflowers make this an ideal playground for young ones.
Amenities: Horseback Riding, Model Aircraft Fields, Picnic Areas, Shelters, Snowmobiling, Trails, Winter Activities
See the Trail Map

 

Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve
42W855 Bahr Rd. Hampshire, IL

The 757 acre Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve is situated in the heart of a rapidly developing critical growth band of townships located in central Kane County.
Amenities: Horseback Riding, Winter Activities
See the Trail Map

 

Rutland Forest Preserve
41W230 Big Timber Rd. Hampshire, IL

Rutland is located on Big Timber Road, 2 miles north of Route 72 or 5 miles west of Randall Road. This forest preserve is primarily for picnics and nature study.
Amenities: Historic Sites, Picnic Areas, Shelters, Snowmobiling, Winter Activities
See the Trail Map

 

Pingree Grove Forest Preserve
14N187 Route 20. Pingree Grove, IL

There is over 300 acres of wetland in this complex. Pingree Grove is a magnificent marsh and woodland as part of the extensive headwaters of Tyler Creek.
Amenities: Horseback Riding, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Route 31. South Elgin, IL

Heading south on the Riverbend Bike Trail will lead you to an 8 foot high natural waterfall, as it cascades and pools into a clear rippling creek.
Amenities: Bike & Nature Trails, Boat/Canoe Launch, Fishing, Historic Sites, Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

Kenyon Farm Forest Preserve
898 Mill St. South Elgin, IL 60177

Here you’ll find rolling wooded hillsides and 25-acre pond ringed with wetland vegetation, is located in the middle of a massive suburban expansion in the Village of South Elgin.
See the Trail Map

 

Raymond Street Forest Preserve
Raymond St. South Elgin, IL

There is a parking lot at the trailhead of the intersection of the Fox River Regional Bike Trail with the Elgin Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path. Future improvements include a new access under the railroad bridge; upgraded parking; trail and interpretive signage; and wetland and woodland habitat restoration.
See the Trail Map

Binnie Forest Preserve
38W040 Binnie Rd. West Dundee, IL

The wetland pockets here form the headwaters of the Kishwaukee River, which flows from the northern border of Binnie Forest Preserve. Visitors enjoy bird watching and wildlife observation from a network of mowed trails. A large picnic shelter and play field is popular with large groups.
Amenities: Picnic Areas, Shelters
See the Trail Map

 

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