Goose Lake Prairie Natural Area
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Lace up those hiking boots, and pack your camera lens! Just a few minutes southeast of downtown Morris lies a 2,500 acre sea of tall grasses, lakes and walking paths known as Goose Lake Prairie Nature Preserve, one of the largest restored prairies in Illinois.

Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Parks

With almost 5,000 acres combined, Starved Rock State Park and neighboring Matthiessen State Park contain a breathtaking collection of rivers, streams and valley trails winding through dramatic sandstone canyons! A must see in central IL.

Starved Rock:

  • Location: 2668 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Information: (815) 667-4726   www.starvedrockstatepark.org
  • Hours: Open 24 hours. Hiking after dark not recommended.

 

Matthiessen:

  • Location: IL-178, North Utica, IL 61373
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. May be challenging to some guests.
  • Information: (815) 667-4868  www.stateparks.com/matthiessen
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset.
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Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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In this reconstructed grassland, formerly the location of the Joliet Arsenal, researchers, biologists, ecologists and local partners are working to restore this incredible, 30 mile area to its natural state.

  • Location: 30239 S. Route 53, Wilmington, IL 60481
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy, flat
  • Information: (815) 423-6370  www.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin
  • Hours: The Welcome Center is open 8-4:30, M-F in the winter and 8-4:30 M-S April thru October. Trails are open 4am-10pm every day.
Santa Fe Prairie Nature Preserve

Adventurers, historians and hikers, look here. The “birth of the prairie restoration movement” took place right here in the Santa Fe Prairie. One of the smallest, rarest, and highest-quality remnants of Illinois’ mid-western landscape.

  • Location: 7100 River Road, Hodgkins, IL 60525‎
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate, no paths.
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset.

 

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Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
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Located just outside the historic canal town of Lemont, is Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. Filled with prairies, savannas, oak-maple woodlands, and scenic overlooks, this preserve is incredibly popular as a cross-country skiing opportunity in the winter months.