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Rock Run Preserve Paul V. Nichols Access

Preserve History

The 320-acre Rock Run Preserve was acquired between 1990 and 2009.

The preserve is part of the Rock Run preservation system, which conserves more than 1,450 acres.

A 168-acre portion of the site was registered as an Illinois Land and Water Reserve in 2003 and 2005. This registration provides permanent protection for the natural resources at the preserve.

Paul V. Nichols Access is one of two access areas to the preserve, with Black Road Access in Joliet serving as the other entry point.



Natural Resources

Rock Run Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, wetland and a portion of Rock Run.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes the snapping turtle, Chicago garter snake and more than 100 bird species.

The preserve is also home to more than 500 plant species, including the violet, buttercup, mint and aster.

The site is managed with invasive species control, prescribed burning, and habitat restoration to protect and enhance its natural resources. Learn more about the District’s land management activities.

Amenities and Activities


Paul V. Nichols Access features 0.52 mile of crushed limestone trail, ideal for the following activities:

  • Hiking/Running
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing

Paul V. Nichols Access also provides access to the 11.24-mile, paved Rock Run Greenway Trail, ideal for the following activities:

  • Biking
  • Hiking/Running
  • In-Line Skating
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing

The Rock Run Greenway Trail connects to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ crushed limestone I&M Canal State Trail and the 4.36-mile, paved Joliet Junction Trail to provide a 16-mile, mostly paved loop trail.


Paul V. Nichols Access offers one picnic shelter for groups of less than 25 people. The shelter is not available for rental.


Rock Run Preserve – Paul V. Nichols Access is located on Essington Road, north of Black Road in Joliet.





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