A Little Time and a Keyboard: 15 Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves for Fall Colors

Sunday, September 27, 2020

15 Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves for Fall Colors

15 Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves for Fall Colors

15 Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves for Fall Colors

Fall colors at Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves create an ever changing kaleidoscope of adventures during autumn in Chicago. I have collected a list of spots that we check for fall colors during this time of year to help you choose a spot for wonderment!

  • The Morton Arboretum: Since Morton Arboretum features a wide variety of trees across its expanse, chances are you will easily catch trees changing colors. In fall, we often do drives through the Arboretum and stop where we spot a patch of colorful trees.
  • River Trail Nature Center: Whenever I catch it just right, River Trail is a magical spot to splendor in fall colors. Magical hikes wind us through fall colors all around and over footpaths covered in a rainbow of leaves.
  • Fox Bluff Conservation Area: Rolling trails and the rush of water through the forest add to the fall experience. Enjoy small waterfalls in spots with fall color accents.
  • Deer Grove Forest Preserve: Deer Grove's 1,800 acres forged from forest, wetlands and prairie offers plenty of opportunities for fall color hikes. Additionally, enjoy viewing a variety of ecosystems changing with the season.
  • Blackwell Forest Preserve: Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville features several lakes and ponds that are beautifully set when fall colors surround them. A variety of trails welcome visitors but we especially enjoyed the more rugged natural footpath.
  • Ryerson Conservation Area: Walking along the Des Plaines River at Ryerson Conservation Area treats to another fantastic experience with the ambiance of fall colors are around. Ryerson is one of my favorite spots to bird, so keep your eyes out especially during migration!
  • Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve: Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve nestled along the Fox River features picturesque ravines and a dense forest that will just be quite divine when ablaze with fall colors.
  • The Grove: The Grove in Glenview is one of our favorite spots to spot deer in the forest. Additionally, The Grove features historic buildings which give you a special opportunity for interesting fall pictures.
  • Chicago Botanic Garden: Similar to Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden features a range of plants and trees ranging from those found locally and in other regions. Therefore, throughout the season you will spy spectacular fall changes.
  • Crabtree Nature Center: Barrington's Crabtree Nature Center treats fall hikers to a variety of fall sights with its range of ecosystems including woodlands, wetlands and prairie.
  • Coral Woods: As a maple forest, Coral Woods can delight with dancing and vibrantly colored maple leaves. 
  • Fullersburg Woods: Fullersburg Woods encompasses the tree lined Salt Creek. Fall colors on the creek -- magical!  When we hike there, we like to take the longer loop for a quieter hike.
  • Glenview Woods: As part of the larger Harms Woods, Glenview Woods features winding footpaths that spiral off of the North Branch Trail. The treelined path includes a stretch along the North Branch of the Chicago River adding an extra opportunity for unique views.
  • Openlands Lakeshore Preserve: Last fall marked my first fall adventure to Openlands Lakeshore Preserve perched above Lake Michigan. I quite enjoyed using fall colors to frame Lake Michigan. Blazes of red, orange and yellow painted fantastic scenes in the preserve.
  • St. James Farm: St. James Farm ushers fall color revelers for another unique experience enjoying fall leaves on a farm dotted with art. St. James Farm really is a distinctive property providing for an interesting fall adventure.

Tips for Leaf Peeping:
  • Check social media for current fall color status. Fall colors can change rapidly, so check your chosen location on social media for possible status reports.
  • Watch the weather forecast -- if a lot of rain is ahead try to get out BEFORE that. The rain may knock those pretty leaves straight out of the trees.
  • Dress for the weather and wear layers. 
  • Look for nature normally hidden to be revealed as leaves drop.
  • Bring plenty of water and snack so you can explore for awhile!
  • Don't forget to research if there is timed entry before heading out.
15 Chicago Suburban Forest Preserves for Fall Colors



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