Thursday, September 27, 2018

Hiking in Paul Douglas Forest Preserve in Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Hiking in Paul Douglas Forest Preserve in Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Last week, we hiked a section of Paul Douglas Forest Preserve in Hoffman Estates, IL. This section of the Forest Preserves of Cook County was new to us and we were pleasantly surprised. The section that we hiked abuts near I-90 yet we found the preserve to be quite peaceful.


Lovely forest path at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve.
Lovely forest path at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve.
A bike and hiking trail encircles the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve and even attaches to Crabtree Forest Preserve in Barrington. At first, I wasn't quite sure if we should hike on the trail. It was very quiet, much different than my experience at Busse Woods where it tends to be busier. However, I soon saw others walking. So, we embarked on our hike starting in Grassy Ridge Meadow.

Wildflowers adding plenty of color to Grassy Ridge Meadow in Hoffman Estates.
Wildflowers adding plenty of color to Grassy Ridge Meadow.
There are some wetlands dotting the area. We were delighted by viewing a beautiful blue heron pretty early in our walk. We also saw an egret which flew off.

Great Blue Heron at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve
Great Blue Heron at Paul Douglas Forest Preserve
As the season has been changing and migration has begun, we have been treated to quite a few monarchs here in Illinois.

Monarch butterfly enjoying some goldenrod.
Monarch butterfly enjoying some goldenrod.
A good portion of the portion of the trail we hiked was wooded. The entire trail is a 7.2 mile paved trail. The preserve is a great one for bird watching. There is a heron rookery in a different section of the preserve than where we walked -- you can access it from Grassy Ridge Meadow but on the opposite stretch than we took during our visit. One warning --- there isn't a restroom. But, you are not far from civilization when at Paul Douglas. We have probably driven by Paul Douglas Forest Preserve countless times. I am glad we found some time to finally explore it. During our whole hike, I was amazed by how close we were to I-90 and you could only hear it in spots. Plus, there was no shortage of wildlife which is a testament to how adaptable nature can be! What a peaceful preserve for a hike, bike ride or even cross-country skiing in the winter.

Hiking in Paul Douglas Forest Preserve  in Hoffman Estates, Illinois

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