Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Early Spring Tranquility at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois

Early Spring Tranquility and Hiking at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois

Early Spring Tranquility at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year to hike because it is intriguing to see how nature wakes up a little more each day. Last week, we took advantage of a free afternoon to visit Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, IL and quickly noted the songs of the frogs indicating that nature indeed was waking up from its winter slumber!



Old School Forest Preserve has a combination of gravel and paved trails. There is an inner and outer loop trail, a trail around a pond and a paved trail that is available for bikers, inline skaters and hikers. Since we were visiting for a little break in the middle of a work day, we opted for the shorter inner trail. We look forward to trying the outer trail and pond trail on future trips. Part of the Des Plaines River Trail also transverses the preserve. Overall, there are more than 5 miles of trails so lots of options!

Fitness trail in Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois
Fitness trail in Old School Forest Preserve
The inner trail also functions as a fitness trail. The fitness trail is only open to foot traffic. However, other trails have other options. While we did not partake in the fitness activities other than hiking, it was fun to see what was available.

Enjoying the vibrant moss standing out in the early spring forest in Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois
Enjoying the vibrant moss standing out in the early spring forest.
The hiking is pretty easy, making the trails fairly accessible. During early spring, the lack of foliage allows you a good look through the forest. We enjoyed seeing quite a bit of vibrant moss and fungi. We spotted quite a number of both red-bellied woodpeckers and downy woodpeckers. We noted a few green sprouts and leaves bursting, but not too much, I suspect there is more evidence of spring this week!

Water and forest meld together at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois
Water and forest meld together.
The preserve consists of forest, prairie and wetland. On the inner loop, we did see some wetland areas. However, some may be ephemeral. So, it will be interesting to see how they change. We certainly could hear the frogs! We also saw a blue heron.



Overall, we enjoyed this preserve. We found it to be a good spot to enjoy a nice hike without it being too strenuous. The range of trails will allow us to adjust our hike to time availability. The range of nature activities available renders Old School Forest Preserve a great fit for nature lovers in all seasons. Now that spring is fully awakening, I look forward to seeing changes at the preserve!

To Know:
  • Old School is named for an old school, the defunct Bradley School.
  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leashes and on trails.
  • Trails in the preserve are open to hiking, biking, inline skating, cross country skiing and horseback riding. See website for which ones are appropriate for each activity.
  • Old School does have a sled hill for during winter months.
  • A playground, picnic areas and restrooms are available.
  • Fishing and ice skating are also available.
**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hiking at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, Illinois

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