Best Nature Walks in Kane County

It’s no secret that spending time outdoors enjoying the fresh air, the smells, and sounds of nature can be rejuvenating and very good for your physical and spiritual health. Anyone wishing to partake of a little “Shinrin Yoku,” or forest bathing, this summer has a number of choices in Kane County. The Kane County Advisory Council of The Conservation Foundation put together a list of its top 10 nature walks in Kane County:

The Fox River Trail, throughout Kane County

A long trail, many access points, fantastic river scenery. It’s paved and goes through many public parks. You get to see all kinds of wildlife, and you can see different things each time you do the walk.

Trout Park, Elgin

A stunning place to take a walk in the spring. It is mostly shade with many wet areas, so has a beautiful display of spring ephemerals. Though it’s adjacent to I-90, you feel like you could be far away from Illinois.

Bluff Spring Fen, Elgin

Features beautiful native displays and a delightful walk through a meadow-like area. Witness the unusual land formations and the plant and animal life supported by the spring. Take a winding footpath up and around a gravel kame graced with rugged old bur oaks, delicate wildflowers, the melody of birds and subtlety of butterflies.

Corron Farm, Campton Township

It has a series of marked trails of various lengths, a small but nice woodland with good spring wildflowers, a wonderful savanna trail with bur oaks and white oaks, and mesic and wet prairie. Bonuses: wildflower gardens, picnic area, historic farmstead, and goats. Not well known, so not heavily visited.

Norris Nature Preserve, St. Charles

There are two trails — one along the river and the other through the woods that meet at the boundary line of the nature preserve property and the Q Center campus, so you actually do both coming and going. For majestic red oaks, gorgeous, uncommon wildflowers and abundant birds, you can’t go wrong.

Tekakwitha Woods, St. Charles

The natural features of Tekakwitha Woods include an oak-maple forest on the uplands, floodplain forest along the river, and restored prairie in former farm fields. A network of foot trails winds through the fields and forested ravines of the preserve. In spring, the forest floor is carpeted with wildflowers and the trees are filled with birds. In summer, the wooded trails provide cool shade and enjoyable wildlife viewing. There’s no road traffic noise to interrupt a truly peaceful walk in the woods.

Hickory Knolls, St. Charles

It has great diversity, from oak woods to prairie to fen. Its trail is long enough and hilly enough that you can get a good workout and get away from crowds. On the site are beautiful prairie and wetland restorations, and, in one area, a relocated remnant prairie. Bonuses: rare wildflowers, nature center, labeled native plantings.

Johnson’s Mound, Elburn

A premier destination for spring wildflowers and a good place to hike at any time of year. You can hike up the mound on a paved road for a good workout, take a leisurely stroll through the woods, or a long hike through the restored prairie.

Dick Young Forest Preserve, Batavia

It features some of Kane County’s finest wetlands, woodlands and prairie. It has a variety of habitats, from marsh to oak woods to reconstructed prairie, large size, and good trails. An excellent birding destination (including white pelicans), it also offers a variety of wildflowers. It is a wonderful place to visit any time, but is a gorgeous prairie display in August and September.

Virgil Gilman Trail, Sugar Grove

The meadow/creek area from Ke-De-Ka Road to the Waubonsee Community College campus offers quiet, open space among tall grasses. It’s a place to be almost alone with nature, enjoying deer, indigo bunting mates, sandhill cranes, hawks, and countless wildflowers. The only chatter comes from the reigning red-winged blackbirds. It’s a great area to either walk or ride a bike.