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Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve

News you can use

Two preserves to be impacted by pavement work

Hickory Creek Barrens and Lower Rock Run – I&M Canal Access will be affected.

Read More

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. This access area 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.

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve is one of three access areas to the preserve. The other access areas are Hickory Creek Junction and LaPorte Road Access, both in Mokena.

PLAN YOUR ADVENTURE ON THIS PRESERVE'S INTERACTIVE MAP

VIEW 360-DEGREE PHOTO

Natural Resources

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature 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 nature preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including 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. Learn more about the District’s land management activities.

Due to the sensitivity of the site's natural resources, dogs are not allowed in the nature preserve.

Amenities and Activities

Trails

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve provides access to the 3.68-mile, paved western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway, ideal for the following activities:

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

Hickory Creek Barrens also provides access to the 7.56-mile Route 30 Bikeway, a linear paved trail ideal for the following activities:

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

The Route 30 Bikeway connects the western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway to the 2.9-mile, paved eastern segment at the Frankfort Township Office on Route 30.

In addition, Hickory Creek Barrens provides access via street routes to the 21-mile Old Plank Road Trail, a linear paved trail ideal for the following activities:

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

Picnicking

Hickory Creek Barrens offers one picnic shelter for rental, Hickory Creek Barrens Shelter, with a permit capacity of 60 people. Learn more about picnic permits and fees.

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