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Get Moving This Fall with Guided Hikes

Photo for: Get Moving This Fall with Guided Hikes

Photo by Matt Ruhter

Perhaps no fall activity gets you as close to nature as a hike through a preserve. 

You can smell the fall foliage, feel a crisp, cool breeze on your face and watch for animals preparing for winter. It’s also a nice way to stay in shape and get some fresh air, especially at a time when large indoor gatherings are prohibited and many of us are looking for stress-reducing diversions. 

The Forest Preserve has scheduled numerous hikes this year to take advantage of the cooler weather and the beautiful fall colors to come. More than a dozen free hikes are in the lineup from now through October. 

Hike to see spiders, migrating pelicans, rare species and stunning fall colors. Registration is required for each hike. To learn more or to register online, visit the Event Calendar. And don't forget the Forest Preserve's "Woods Walk" challenge is underway with 10 trails to explore at your own pace. 

Here is the September/October guided hike lineup:

Happy Mornings Yoga and Hike – 9-10:30 a.m. Sunday, September 13, and Sunday, October 4, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Stretch your body with some gentle yoga and then hike for a mile along a scenic trail. Ages 18 or older.

Spider Hike – 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, September 15, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Search for spiders at night and find out why they are important members of our natural communities. The hike will be approximately 1 mile. Ages 5 or older. 

Lockport Prairie Ramble – 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, September 19, Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve. Hike 1.5 miles and learn about the preserve’s globally rare dolomite prairie and the rare plants and insects that live there. Ages 10 or older. 

All Abilities Family Hike – 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, September 19, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. No matter what your level of mobility or ability, this 0.4-mile hike is just right for your family. All ages. 

Pelican Watch Hikes – noon-4 p.m. Sunday, September 20, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. (Hikes offered hourly at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.) Hike 1 mile to learn about and see American white pelicans that stop by the preserve as they migrate south for the winter. All ages. 

Spider Eyeshine Hike – 7-8 p.m. Friday, October 2, Isle a la Cache Museum. On this half-mile hike, learn why eyes reflect light at night and grab a flashlight to search for eyeshine from spiders and other creatures. Ages 6 or older. 

Heading South: Fall Migration Bird Hike – 9-10 a.m. Saturday, October 3, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Explore different habitats to view migrating birds on this 1.5-mile hike. All ages. 

Fall Colors Sunrise Hike – 6:30-8 a.m. Saturday, October 17, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Set your alarm to watch a spectacular sunrise! The hike will be 1-2 miles. Ages 16 or older. 

Fall Fungus Frolic – 9-10 a.m. Saturday, October 17, Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. Hike 1-2 miles to search for fungus and learn about the species. All ages.

Hikin’ With Your Hound – 10-11 a.m. Sunday, October 18, Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access. Hike 1-2 miles with a naturalist and your pup through the magical fall colors of Hammel Woods. All ages. 

Fall Color Stroll – 5-6 p.m. Friday, October 23, Hammel Woods – Route 59 Access. Take a 1-2 mile stroll through brilliant fall colors as the sun sets in the preserve. All ages. 

Fall Color Photography Hike – 8:30-10:30 a.m. Sunday, October 25, Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. Bring your camera, smartphone or digital SLRs to snap photos as you hike approximately 1 mile through stunning fall foliage in the District’s oldest preserve. Ages 16 or older.


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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