The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

Messenger Woods Nature Preserve

Preserve History

The 441-acre Messenger Woods Nature Preserve was acquired between 1930 and 2006.

The preserve is part of the Spring Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 1,900 acres.

A 144-acre portion of this preserve was the District's very first acquisition, made in 1930 at a price of $125 per acre.

A 406-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1994 and 1999. This dedication provides permanent protection for the preserve's natural resources.

PLAN YOUR ADVENTURE ON THIS PRESERVE'S INTERACTIVE MAP

VIEW 360-DEGREE PHOTO

Natural Resources

Messenger Woods Nature Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, savanna, wetland and a portion of Spring Creek.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes more than 60 bird species.

The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including a spectacular display of spring wildflowers, such as blue-eyed Mary, showy trillium, wild geranium and hepatica. 

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.

The preserve is also part of a tree mitigation project funded by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority that has planted more than 800 trees and shrubs at the preserve.

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

Amenities and Activities

Trails

Messenger Woods Nature Preserve features 1.98 miles of natural surface trail, ideal for hiking/running. The 1.3 miles of natural surface trail outside of the designated nature preserve are also ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Camping

The preserve offers four primitive campsites for family or group rental, with a permit capacity of six people per site. The campsites are on moderately sloped terrain in full sun and provide access to fire pits and latrines. Two of the campsites are on natural surface terrain, and two are on concrete pads and are ADA accessible. The two ADA-accessible sites provide access to grills. Learn more about camping permits and fees.

Picnicking

The preserve offers two picnic shelters for rental: Hawthorn Grove Shelter (permit capacity of 100 people) and Oak Knoll Shelter (permit capacity of 100 people). Learn more about picnic permits and fees.

Location

Messenger Woods Nature Preserve is located on Bruce Road, east of Cedar Road in Homer Glen.

Phone

815.727.8700

Hours

8 a.m.-Sunset

On Social Media

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

The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates