Hickory Creek Preserve


Hickory Creek Preserve has three access points:

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve is located on Schoolhouse Road, north of Route 30/Lincoln Highway, in New Lenox Township.

Hickory Creek Junction is located on Route 30/Lincoln Highway, west of Wolf Road, in Frankfort Township.

Hickory Creek Preserve — LaPorte Road Access is located on LaPorte Road, east of Wolf Road, in Mokena.





On social media

Like the Hickory Creek Facebook page to get news updates, photos, videos and information about upcoming programs at this preserve.

Preserve history

The 1,541-acre Hickory Creek Preserve was acquired between 1942 and 2010.

The preserve is part of the Hickory Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 2,000 acres.

The preserve is the District's largest individual preserve, and the majority of the land was acquired for a regional stormwater reservoir which was never constructed.

Hickory Creek Preserve has three access areas: Hickory Creek Barrens in New Lenox; Hickory Creek Junction in Mokena; and LaPorte Road Access in Mokena.

Hickory Creek Barrens features the New Lenox Historical Society's historic one-room Schmuhl School. A 575-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1998. This dedication provides permanent protection for the preserve's natural resources.


Natural resources

Hickory Creek Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, savanna, wetland and a portion of Hickory Creek.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes more than 50 bird species, such as the pileated woodpecker, yellow-rumped warbler, brown creeper and hermit thrush.

The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including lead plant, beechwood sedge, yellow trout lily, prairie gentian and wild senna. The nature preserve is home to the largest population of the state-threatened savanna blazing star in Illinois, as well as the federally threatened Mead's milkweed.

The site is managed with invasive species control, prescribed burning and habitat restoration to protect and enhance its natural resources.


Amenities and activities


Hickory Creek Junction features 0.55 mile of natural surface trail, ideal for the following activities:

  • Hiking/running
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing

LaPorte Road Access features 1.25 mile of natural surface trail, ideal for the following activities:

  • Hiking/running
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing

Hickory Creek Barrens and Hickory Creek Junction provide access to the 3.75-mile paved western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway; the 7.56-mile Route 30 Bikeway and the 22-mile Old Plank Road Trail. LaPorte Road Access provides access to the 2.25-mile paved eastern segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway. All three trails are ideal for the following activities:

  • Biking
  • Hiking/running
  • In-line skating
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing


Hickory Creek Preserve has four picnic shelters available for rental:


Permits are available for geocaching at LaPorte Road Access.