The 997-acre Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was acquired between 1974 and 2006.
The preserve is part of the Thorn Creek preservation system, which conserves approximately 1,600 acres.
The preserve is jointly owned and managed by four Thorn Creek Woods Management Commission members: the Forest Preserve District, the Village of Park Forest, the Village of University Park and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
An 884-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1978, 1993 and 2001. This dedication provides permanent protection for the preserve's natural resources.
PLAN YOUR ADVENTURE ON THIS PRESERVE'S INTERACTIVE MAP
Thorn Creek Woods protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, savanna, wetland and a portion of Thorn Creek.
Wildlife found at the preserve includes southern flying squirrels, warblers, woodpeckers and a variety of hawk species.
The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including basswood and sugar maple.
The site is managed with invasive species control and prescribed burning 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
Thorn Creek Woods features 1.94 miles of natural surface trail, ideal for hiking/running.
Thorn Creek Woods features the Thorn Creek Nature Center, which was converted from a historic 1862 church and is managed by the Village of Park Forest. The nature center offers nature education opportunities for families. Learn more about the preserve and nature center on the Friends of Thorn Creek Woods' website.