A Little Time and a Keyboard: Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois Delights with Gently Rambling Bowes Creek

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois Delights with Gently Rambling Bowes Creek

 

Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois Delights with Gently Rambling Bowes Creek
Wandering Through Prairie and Woodlands and Over a Creek at Bowes Creek Woods

An early spring hike took us to the trails of Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin. Bowes Creek boasts a natural fabric of prairie, woodland and a bubbling creek. Immediately upon embarking on the trail, we were greeted by red-winged blackbirds. We knew we would enjoy this preserve!

Where the prairie meets the woodlands at Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois
Where the prairie meets the woodlands at Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve.

Birding, Birding, Birding

We quickly realized that the preserve presents a fantastic opportunity for birding. The combination between prairie, oak woodland and wetland environments welcome a wealth of native birds. We had a most spectacular sighting during our visit particularly since temperatures were still pretty cool. We saw a great blue heron!

Bowes Creek rambles over a rocky bed at Bowes Creek Forest Preserve in Elgin, Illinois
Bowes Creek rambles over a rocky bed.

Rambling Bowes Creek

The preserve's namesake, Bowes Creek truly delights. Before visiting the preserve, I expected a small creek. However, Bowes Creek is quite a nice size tumbling over rocks. The creek meanders through the preserve before eventually reaching the Fox River a distance from the preserve. The creek meanders beautifully welcoming pause, introspection and wonder.

A stand of old oak trees stands watch at Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve in Kane County, Illinois.
A stand of old oak trees stands watch at Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve.

Noble Witness Trees

A stand of old oak trees cut almost creepy figures against the bold, blue sky. I love the craggy hands of the oak trees that stretch forward in the colder months. The trees provide a contrast to the grassy prairie surrounding. The trees thriving at Bowes Creek are known as witness trees because they have stood tale and witnessed the history of the land. These trees were used in surveying the land as some would be altered for farming.

Soaking in the golden sun and the view of the prairie and woodlands.
Soaking in the golden sun and the view of the prairie and woodlands.

A trail up a small promontory winds off of the main path. From this spot, you can enjoy a better view of the preserve. Additionally, a plaque provides some interesting environmental and historical information about the preserve. While there are definitely higher points with sweeping views in Illinois, the view is still pretty here.

Evergreens add a bristly splash of green.
Evergreens add a bristly splash of green.

Of course, I had to locate evergreens in this preserve! While there isn't much tree cover, there are some nice spots to admire trees. I would love to return when the prairie is above with butterflies and bees!

Lovely farm emerging on the edge of Bowes Creek Woods.
Lovely farm emerging on the edge of Bowes Creek Woods.

Towards the end of our hike, we enjoyed a nice peek at a neighboring farm. This provided such a picturesque scene telling not only the history of the preserve but also the story of the community around. Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve actually represents a relatively new Kane County Forest Preserve with the initial 183 acres being acquired in 2006. An additional 58 acres have since been acquired. The blending of the ecosystems and relatively easy hiking make this a great preserve for anyone looking for a little fresh air and to explore nature therefore solidifying the preserve as a great addition to the Kane County Forest Preserve District.

To Know About Bowes Creek Woods Forest Preserve

  • There is one sizable covered picnic area.
  • Horse riding is welcome but there is no parking for horse trailers. Please check website for details and availability.
  • Trails are multiuse for hiking, jogging and biking.

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