A Little Time and a Keyboard: 10 Places to Look for Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs

10 Places to Look for Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs

Sunday, October 14, 2018

10 Places to Look for Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs

Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs:

Chicago suburban nature preserves are magnificent treasures year round treating us with a wide range of outdoor activities. Fall is particularly spectacular because we benefit from a cascade of changing colors. If you are looking for a fall color adventure, these 10 Chicago suburban preserves provide a selection of natural spaces to enjoy the season:

  • The Morton Arboretum: The Morton Arboretum is a fabulous pick because the expanse of the preserve and the varied collections of trees add even more variety to the season as colors change in different spots throughout. Each hike is a surprise!
  • River Trail Nature Center: River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook is probably my favorite place in the area to enjoy fall colors. I try to make it out every year and find myself in a cascade of color. One year, the forest floor looked like a rainbow.
  • Deer Grove Forest Preserve: Deer Grove's 1,800 acres include forest, wetlands and prairie. Both in Palatine, Deer Grove West is mainly wooded and Deer Grove East has quite a bit of wetland. Seeing the changes in all of the ecosystems during fall provide for quite a treat.
  • Blackwell Forest Preserve: We visited Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville for the first time today. Blackwell contains several lakes and ponds that I think will be beautiful with fall colors surrounding them. We saw in a few brilliant reds and yellows just popping up around the lake, so I think it will be gorgeous soon!
  • Ryerson Conservation Area: Ryerson Conservation Area in Deerfield is one of my favorite spots to bird. Much of the preserve is tree covered providing a wonderful spot to see fall colors. Additionally, the prairie section of the preserve can be full of warm yellows, browns and even reds coupled with some fuzzy grays where seeds are being expelled.
  • The Grove: The Grove in Glenview melds forest with interesting historic structures adding a bit of a different look in fall. We do walk further in the preserve well past where the historic buildings are and often spot deer. An inspiration to keep hiking!
  • Chicago Botanic Garden: The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe's arrangements of trees, flowers and shrubs in a variety of collections present intriguing ways to enjoy the splendor of fall.
  • Crabtree Nature Center: Situated in Barrington, Crabtree Nature Center provides fall exploration that includes forest, prairie and wetland. The wetland areas in particular can be quiet beautiful with warm fall hues all around.
  • Coral Woods: Coral Woods in Marengo is a maple forest. We enjoyed sweet goodness from Coral Woods during maple sugaring season. Fall brings the sweet colors of red, orange and yellow to add some extra dazzle to the forest.
  • Fullersburg Woods: We explored Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook for the first time this year. When we visited, I remember noting that the trees along Salt Creek thinking the tree-lined creek must be magical in fall.

  • Dress for the weather: Layers are great this time of year. They also can be removed if you start hiking when it is a bit nippy in the morning and the temperature gradually warms up.
  • Look for natural elements often hidden: Falling leaves and foliage that has died down will reveal other treasures including nests, fungi and moss.
  • Bring plenty of water: When the temperatures dip, it is easy to neglect hydration.
  • Check social media: If you are unsure about a preserve's fall color status, there may be updated images on social media. Additionally, this may help you narrow what to check out in larger preserves.
10 Places to Look for Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs

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