www.outdoors.chicago.il.us >> The Unofficial Cook County Forest Preserve District Page >> Picnic Maps >>
This page includes:
Points of Interest |
Interesting Things You May Enjoy |
Nature Center - Fishing - Winter Sports |
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See also: Your Forest Preserve District
Related information at this site: Salt Creek Division | Tinley Creek Division | Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
The Palos preserves comprise our largest and most diversified holding. Mostly hilly and forested, they are notable for scenic beauty and rich in history back to glacial and geologic times. Masses of hawthorns and crabapples bloom in spring; the woodlands provide colorful autumn foliage. There are fine upland meadows; many lakes, ponds and sloughs; a great variety and abundance of wildlife; and the best fishing waters in Cook County.
Dedicated Nature Preserve
Maintained to furnish good fishing
Wildlife Refuge -- Fishing Prohibited unless indicated
Area notable for spring wildflowers
Slopes for Winter Coasting
Overlook with exceptional scenic view
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center and Trails
Old Country Lane
Maple and Tampier Lakes boat docks -- rowboats for hire
Site of original Argonne Laboratory for atomic research
Cross Country Ski Trail Area.
Dynamite Road nature trails
St. James Church and Cemetery, founded 1837. Site of Indian village, chipping station and signal station.
I&M Canal Bicycle Trail Parking Lot
Landing Along Chicago Portage Canoe Trail -- Stony Ford To Lemont Landing -- 14.4 Miles
Toboggan slides and shelter
Trail located on glacial ridge, called an esker
Trail thru wild isolated area with fine scenery
Model Airplane Flying Field
Large concentrations of waterfowl and shorebirds, including ducks, geese, and egrets, resting and feeding on Longjohn, Saganashkee and McGinnis sloughs during the spring and fall migration periods.
Blackberry, dewberry and raspberry patches plentiful in meadows and woodland openings at many location and ripe for picking in July.
Mushrooms plentiful in many woodlands during autumn.
Wild prairie roses, some climbing to the tops of hawthorn and crabapple trees along trail from St. James Church to site of original Argonne Laboratory.
Spring wildflowers bloom first in Black Partridge Woods which, with its creek and big springs that flow the year around, was a winter retreat and chipping station for Indians.
Pawpaw trees and shingle oaks in Pawpaw Woods -- the northern limit of where those trees occur in Illinois. Spice bush also plentiful.
Sycamores and an unusually large ironwood (hop hornbeam) tree at McClaughry Springs. Also a sheer cliff of sandy "groundhog" clay depositsed by the last glacier.
Bank swallows and kingfishers formerly nested in the sandy clay face of Swallow Cliff just went of U. S. 45.
At Swallow Cliff Woods picnic area, a grove of white pines planted in the 1920's.
Kentucky Coffeetree and a very large elm at site of pioneer home south of 87th St. on east side of U S. 45.
Buffalo Woods, so named because it formerly was fenced to enclose a herd of buffalo.
Hidden Pond Woods contains an example of a farm pond constructed by the original owner to water his livestock
These Palos Hills are the result of the last glacier that pushed its way this far south. The ponds and sloughs lie within potholes resulting from the melting of huge blocks of ice left by that glacier. The city of Chicago is founded on the flat bed of old Lake Chicago, ancestor of Lake Michigan.
The Little Red Schoolhouse nature center, overlooking Longjohn Slough, is a unique feature in the Forest Preserve District program of outdoor education which has attracted national attention. It is a place where an entire family -- especially if they wear suitable clothing and bring lunches -- can spend a day full of interest and fun. The indoor exhibits, changing as the seasons change, and the self-guiding nature trails are designed to help people learn more about the out-of-doors and enjoy what they see. It is also used extensively by schools and youth groups.
Open daily except Friday --
9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Sat. & Sun. open 9 :00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Fishing is an inexpensive, restful form of recreation enjoyed by people at all ages. Several lakes and ponds in the Palos preserves, indicated on the map by the symbol have been developed for this purpose. Due to fertile soils and careful management -- including control of aquatic weeds and the deepening of shallow areas -- they are very productive and furnish the best shoreline fishing in Cook County. They are visited each year by thousands of anglers who take home good catches of largemouth bass, bluegills, bullheads and other desirable fish. An Illinois license and compliance with the state law is required. A fleet of rowboats, for hire, is maintained at Maple Lake.
The Swallow Cliff winter sports center includes six toboggan slides -- highest and longest in the Chicago region -- nearby slopes for children's sleds, and a warming shelter. These attract large crowds of participants and spectators whenever there is sufficient snow. Toboggans can be rented but toboggan owners may use the slides without any charge. Other hills in the preserves bordering the Sag valley, with slopes suitable for skiers and sleds, are also indicated on the map by the symbol The Palos preserves include several small ponds which are shallow enough to be safe, are not designated as wildlife refuges, and may be used by skaters when the ice permits.
This page is based on a publication of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois, adapted for the web as a public service by CLONK. This web site is unofficial, and not associated in any way with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. CLONK is not responsible for any errors, either in the original publication or in this web version. The information presented here follows the original Forest Preserve District publication as closely as possible, with minor variations such as choice of typeface and added web links. CLONK cautions that items such as names of public servants and telephone numbers are subject to change! This web version was completed Spring, 2000.
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