On the Joys of Hiking for a Hike’s Sake and Saying Goodbye to My Favorite Chicagoland Nature Spot for the Year

When you spend the last several years writing a book—Nature in Chicagoland: More Than 120 Fantastic Nature Destinations That You Must Visit—you don’t get to spend as much time visiting your favorite nature destinations (because there are always new places to see) and rambling through the woods with no cares in the world. But all … Continue reading On the Joys of Hiking for a Hike’s Sake and Saying Goodbye to My Favorite Chicagoland Nature Spot for the Year

The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in September 2021

Nearly 10 amazing places to see bison in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa An amazing prairie in Westchester, Illinois   A wonderfully wild, hilly nature preserve with a Civil War–era church that's now a nature center A rare mesic gravel prairie tucked between noisy Interstate 55, railroad tracks, warehouses, LaGrange Road, and the Des Plaines … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in September 2021

Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve: Ravines, Rolling Hills, and a Historic 1862 Church/Nature Center

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND If Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was a baseball hit, it would be a majestic home run walloped by Babe Ruth or “Hammerin' Hank" Aaron at the height of their powers. If it was a streaming success, it would be The Wire, one of my favorite shows … Continue reading Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve: Ravines, Rolling Hills, and a Historic 1862 Church/Nature Center

Matthiessen State Park: Awe-Inspiring Canyons, Colorful Cliffs, and a Biodiversity Hotspot

I heard the soothing sounds of falling water striking soft sandstone as I descended the steep steps from the Dells Area parking lot to the trail below. By the sound, the water was falling fast and in large volume to the canyon floor. It was a beautiful 60-degree morning in mid-April, sunny and breezy, and … Continue reading Matthiessen State Park: Awe-Inspiring Canyons, Colorful Cliffs, and a Biodiversity Hotspot

Moraine Hills State Park: Rolling Hills, Top-Notch Hiking Trails, Winter Sports, and Much More

If you’re looking for a little adventure just an hour from Chicago, you should visit Moraine Hills State Park (1510 S. River Road, McHenry, IL 60051). That’s what I did recently on an early spring day that started out in the high 40s and reached 62 degrees under a bright sun and blue skies. The … Continue reading Moraine Hills State Park: Rolling Hills, Top-Notch Hiking Trails, Winter Sports, and Much More

Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020…Hello 2021!

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND I want to thank my Nature in Chicagoland readers for visiting my blog in 2020. In nearly 45 blog posts, I covered everything from buffalo "hunting" at Kankakee Sands; to exploring the remnant prairies that dot Chicagoland's landscape; to 14 of my favorite national parks and other … Continue reading Goodbye (and Good Riddance) 2020…Hello 2021!

New Book Shows That You Don’t Need a Car to Enjoy Chicagoland Nature

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND The Chicago metropolitan area (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) consists of nearly 11,000 square miles. In this vast area, there are a plethora of awe-inspiring nature destinations. There is Lake Michigan, our vast inland sea, which offers an amazing interplay of sky and … Continue reading New Book Shows That You Don’t Need a Car to Enjoy Chicagoland Nature

The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in November 2020

A story about the migration of tens of thousands of sandhill cranes; you can view this great Midwestern migration for the next few weeks. A Chicago city park that features 154 acres of native marsh and wet prairie habitat, great birdwatching, and easy hiking trails Nearly 22 acres of restored woodlands, wetlands, and a pond … Continue reading The 7 Most-Popular Stories at Nature in Chicagoland in November 2020

Indian Ridge Marsh Park: A Bird Haven and a Story of Environmental Rebirth

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND Surrounded by steel processing plants and busy railroad lines and roads lies a place of wild beauty and an oasis for migrating great egrets, double crested cormorants, and little blue herons, among many other birds. Park No. 565 is a Chicago city park that’s nothing … Continue reading Indian Ridge Marsh Park: A Bird Haven and a Story of Environmental Rebirth

14 Amazing Nature Spots I Visited This Year That Should be on Your Chicagoland “Nature Bucket List”

BY ANDREW MORKES, FOUNDER & AUTHOR OF NATURE IN CHICAGOLAND It's been a challenging year in many ways as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the contentious presidential campaign, and other factors. But amidst the stressful conditions, there have been two constants: my great family and nature. My family has provided support, solace, companionship, … Continue reading 14 Amazing Nature Spots I Visited This Year That Should be on Your Chicagoland “Nature Bucket List”