A Little Time and a Keyboard: Waterfall Glen {Darien}

Waterfall Glen {Darien}

Friday, June 26, 2015

Does Illinois have waterfalls? Why yes, yes it does! Last weekend, we seized upon what seems to be a rare occurrence of a sunny day and headed to Darien to check out the Waterfall Glen Nature Preserve!

Waterfall Glen is a pretty immense preserve at 2,492 acres so there is a lot to explore. During our visit, we only saw what we feel to be a snippet so there will be many more jewels to be uncovered during future visits.

Our hike quickly showed us the range of varied terrain in the preserve. Waterfall Glen owes its terrain to the Wisconsin Glacier and the meltwaters and drainage from a post glacial lake. Ridges and potholes cover parts of the preserve. You will immediately notice this during a hike because the trails will not be quite as flat is in other parts of the Chicago area. There are some steep sections and scenic overlooks as well as some rock debris. The Glen includes prairies, savannas and oak-maple woodlands.

The waterfall itself was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Even though it is man-made, the waterfall really is beautiful. Hikers including our family could not help but pause for some time to take it in. Plenty of pictures were being snapped as well! After, a saunter along the Des Plaines River brought us to a small rapids which provided a place for reflecting.

As you can imagine, Waterfall Glen is also full of wildlife! We saw our share of birds, butterflies and insects. We even saw a snake--don't worry, he was a safe distance away! My daughter's favorite was this millipede:

Horseback riding, biking and fishing are permitted in certain areas of the preserve. The preserve also holds a popular model airplane field as well as a campsite. You will need to contact the preserve for reservations and information on usage. Another interesting tidbit about this particular preserve--it surrounds Argonne National Laboratory. Who would have known?

The landscape at Waterfall Glen is quite different than the other preserves we have been to in Illinois. Such a pleasant departure! We will definitely be back for some more exploring!

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