A Little Time and a Keyboard: Appreciating the Spiritual Nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve

Friday, December 18, 2020

Appreciating the Spiritual Nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve

Appreciating the Spiritual Nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve in West Chicago, Illinois

Appreciating the Spiritual Nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve in West Chicago, Illinois

Spiritual and sacred land of Native Americans threads throughout Illinois. This past fall, we experienced the sacred nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve where remnants of three burial mounds remain. We visited the preserve toward late afternoon and enjoyed peaceful hike full of admiring the quiet nature around.

Late afternoon view of the West Branch of the DuPage River at Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve.
Late afternoon view of the West Branch of the DuPage River.


The day of our visit was quite gray with sun breaking through at unique angles. Smoke from prescribed burns refracted light creating an interesting smudgy atmosphere. We crossed the gently flowing West Branch of the DuPage River as we started our hiking journey. We enjoyed pausing a bit to take in river views. The preserve is mostly undeveloped restored prairie and savanna. 


Greeted by the forest trees at Winfield Mounds.
Greeted by the forest trees at Winfield Mounds.

Winfield Mounds does not have a formal parking lot. However, we did find street parking. Winfield Mounds is on the Geneva Spur and the Elgin Branch of the Illinois Prairie Trail. Thus, the preserve does connect to others nearby such as Kline Creek and Timber Ridge via the Illinois Prairie Trail Elgin Spur. You do need to cross Geneva Road -- which we did not do on this outing.

Throughout our hike, we admired seeing the preserve under the late fall sun with light bouncing in different patterns due to the smoke. The barren trees revealed to us nests and unique formations.

Evergreen and a golden sun warm the trails at Winfield Mounds.
Evergreen and a golden sun warm the trails.

The trails are fairly easy. We did enjoy spotting some horse riders and horses on the trail!

The three mounds are reminders of a prehistoric Native American civilization that lived along the West Branch of the DuPage River 1,000 years ago. Unfortunately, the mounds were raided by vandals in the early 20th century. From the 1930's-1970's, archaeologists removed remains and artifacts from the mounds to preserve them. The mounds were later reconstructed for historical purposes. During our visit, the atmosphere and scenes indicated that the spiritual nature of the site is very much still present. Finding the mounds is a bit of a trick, so I am linking to Derivative Works' "How to Find the Winfield Mounds Prehistoric Site" which is the best description I have seen.

Special moment of light near the site of the mounds at Winfield Mounds.
Special moment of light near the site of the mounds.


We enjoyed the peaceful sanctity of Winfield Mounds on our hike. Additionally, we splendored in the river views of the West Branch of the DuPage. Winfield Mounds does not have many miles of trails, so in the future we may pair it with a visit to another nearby preserve as well. Winfield Mounds overall is beautiful preserve nestling an important and sacred site.

Appreciating the Spiritual Nature of Winfield Mounds Forest Preserve in West Chicago, Illinois




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