Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve: Great Blooms, Biking, Hiking, and Nature Experiences

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND How lucky we are to have such natural places as Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve, where the saw-toothed sun flowers grow tall as fairytale giants (OK, maybe not that tall), the plentiful asters prettily mark the end of wildflower season, and the birds seem to sing … Continue reading Middlefork Savanna Nature Preserve: Great Blooms, Biking, Hiking, and Nature Experiences

Illinois Beach State Park: Beautiful Dune, Lake, and River Views; Hiking; Biking; Camping; and Other Great Outdoor Recreational Activities

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND There are only 63 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois (as opposed to 3,288 miles in Michigan), and much of this land has been developed as part of city lakefronts, heavy industry, and private beachfront property. That’s why Illinois Beach State Park (1 Lake … Continue reading Illinois Beach State Park: Beautiful Dune, Lake, and River Views; Hiking; Biking; Camping; and Other Great Outdoor Recreational Activities

Art Exhibition Celebrates the Natural Beauty and Rebirth of Chicago’s Industrial Southeast Side

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER AND AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If you hike or paddle in the right natural spot in Chicagoland, it’s almost as if you’re not in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. There are peaceful and verdant prairies filled with prairie blazing star, black-eyed Susan, compass plant, rattlesnake … Continue reading Art Exhibition Celebrates the Natural Beauty and Rebirth of Chicago’s Industrial Southeast Side

Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Chicago Anymore: 10 Nature Destinations Where You’ll Swear That You’re Not in the City

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Chicago has a population of nearly 2.7 million people, more than 4,000 miles of streets, and large industrial areas with factories spewing pollution into the air, the Chicago River, and Lake Michigan. Like most U.S. cities, it also has problems with crime, racial inequity, poverty, lack of … Continue reading Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Chicago Anymore: 10 Nature Destinations Where You’ll Swear That You’re Not in the City

McKinley Woods: Enjoy Breathtaking Views of the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal, Excellent Hiking Trails and Birdwatching, and More

McKinley Woods is a beautiful preserve that features bluffs, deep ravines, and forests along the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal. There are two access points: Frederick’s Grove and Kerry Sheridan Grove. I recently spent several hours on a warm spring day hiking the trails at Frederick’s Grove, which has north and south parking areas. … Continue reading McKinley Woods: Enjoy Breathtaking Views of the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal, Excellent Hiking Trails and Birdwatching, and More

The Story of a Rock, a Bison, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Wanderlust, and Summer Adventures Out West

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND This rock (all 9.9 ounces) fits perfectly into the palm of my hand. It was my constant companion when I solo hiked a portion of the 144-mile Maah Deh Hay Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP). TRNP is wild and beautiful—buttes, badlands, and grasslands that overlook … Continue reading The Story of a Rock, a Bison, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Wanderlust, and Summer Adventures Out West

Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of Nature in Chicagoland

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Today is the five-year anniversary of my blog, Nature in Chicagoland, and I'm so happy to have written nearly 200 articles about the woods, wetlands, grasslands, prairies, lakes and other waterways, and other natural areas that make up Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. I'm pleased that Nature … Continue reading Celebrating the Five-Year Anniversary of Nature in Chicagoland

Hidden Pond Woods: What if You Held a Nature Party and No One Came?

What if you held a nature party and no one came? That was the scene early last September when I stumbled upon Hidden Pond Woods-East (Entrance: S. Kean Avenue, north of W. 95th Street, Cook County, IL 60480, near Willow Springs) after hiking about 3 miles at wild and hilly Spears Woods just to the … Continue reading Hidden Pond Woods: What if You Held a Nature Party and No One Came?

Spears Woods: Room to Roam Amidst Rolling Hills, Sloughs, and Oak Woodlands

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If you’re looking for a large preserve in which to hike, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and otherwise explore, than Spears Woods near Willow Springs, Illinois, is the place to be. It offers rolling hills; sloughs (such as whimsically named Boomerang, Hogwash, and Pollywog Sloughs); winding … Continue reading Spears Woods: Room to Roam Amidst Rolling Hills, Sloughs, and Oak Woodlands

Goodbye 2021…Hello 2022! 

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I want to thank my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2021.  I visited 37 nature destinations in Illinois and Indiana last year, and 23 were new spots—including Rock Run Rookery Preserve, Buffalo Rock State Park, Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve, Casper Bluff Land & Water … Continue reading Goodbye 2021…Hello 2022!