A Little Time and a Keyboard: Charmed by a Diversity of Habitats at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois

Monday, November 16, 2020

Charmed by a Diversity of Habitats at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois

Charmed by a Diversity of Habitats at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois

Woodlands, Wetlands and Prairie Enchant at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois

We capitalized on one of late fall's bonus warm days by exploring a range of hiking trails at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois. The Will County forest preserve was indeed quite busy during our weekend visit and we soon learned why.

Embarking on a wooded path at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve under the late fall sun.
Embarking on a wooded path at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve under the late fall sun.

We parked near Plum Creek Nature Center. In non-COVID times, I would like to explore the nature center's exhibits. From the parking lot, we headed off towards trails. Near Plum Creek Nature Center, we noted a picnic pavilion near a large hill which no doubt is fun for sledding. A celebration filled the pavilion -- visitors wearing masks. We walked through our parking lot to a second lot near our chosen trails. The path was not close to the pavilion. Soon, we headed into the woods.

The shapes of the tree create unique scenes in winter.
The shapes of the tree create unique scenes.

The brilliant autumn sun beckoned us through a woods full of barren trees and crunchy leaves at our feet. The golden hue of the sun warmed the soul. Rolling trails added an interesting element. We noted some footpaths spindling off that we would like to explore on a future visit.

The autumn sun warmed the trails through the woodlands and prairie.
The autumn sun warmed the trails through the woodlands and prairie

As we wandered, we pulled out the AllTrails app to help us navigate a variety of trails at Goodenow. With a blend of forest, prairie and wetland environments, we enjoyed quite a variety of scenery even though leaves had already fallen for the season. One of the trails we embarked up was particularly rolling adding a bit of a challenge. We enjoyed a mix of various straw colored grasses, blazing red berries and windy, upward reaching trees! 

Sweeping view of a tranquil pond at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
Sweeping view of a tranquil pond at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.

In addition to woodlands and prairie, Goodenow includes wetland habitats folding a pond and portions of Plum Creek in the preserve. A wonderful overlook provides a perch for a sweeping view of the pond. However, a variety of views can be enjoyed on the trail that traces a section of the pond.
Rusty fall hues warm the scene surrounding the peaceful pond at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
Rusty fall hues warm the scene surrounding the peaceful pond.

While hiking near the pond, we took in a view blending the serenity pond and the warm rusty and straw hues of the winter forest.

Touching poppy sculpture at Goodenow Grove.
Touching poppy sculpture at Goodenow Grove.

Along the pond trail, we encountered unexpected treasures -- sculptures! I was especially moved upon discovering a poppy sculpture just days before Veterans Day. Many of my relatives including my father served in the military, so this discovery was pretty touching.

The 891-acre preserve which a portion of the larger 2,300-acre Plum Creek preservation system provides for a wealth of nature adventures. While we did explore a variety of trails, we still have more room to wander at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve! The beautiful and diverse preserve holds such a range of nature experiences for all!

To Know about Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve:

  • Plum Creek Nature Center provides for a wealth of exhibits.
  • Snow shoe and sled tube rental are available in winter. See website for details.
  • The preserve includes an ice skating pond if proper weather conditions are present.
  • Camping is available at Goodenow; please see website for more more information.
  • Horseback riding is permitted in certain areas.
  • There is ability for geocacheing but a permit is required.
  • The preserve is on the Plum Creek Greenway Trail for biking.
  • Sledding is permitted starting December 1 if there is enough snow.
Charmed by a Diversity of Habitats at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Beecher, Illinois


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