Set in the midst of bustling suburbs, this emerald island offers a quiet place to relax and recreate with nature. Its wide open spaces are safe, clean and easy to explore.
Four miles of crushed-gravel trails are open to hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).
The trails run through open areas within the preserve, crossing several creeks, skirting the reservoir and traversing restored prairie.
Pedestrian and bicycle access is available at the corner of Checker Road and Arlington Heights Road, on Checker Road west of Schaeffer Road, and at the corner of Lake Cook and Arlington Heights Roads.
Most of this property was previously owned by the Popp family, who since early settlement times had farmed the rich land. The Popps initially had a dairy farm, and then converted to grain crops such as soybeans, wheat and corn.
Acquisition of this land took place in several purchases between 1978 and 1987. Due to the land's suitability for flood control, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District assisted with some of the acquisition.
Prior to European settlement, this land supported a tallgrass prairie dotted with a few small wetlands. Restoration of that prairie has been underway since the 1980s. Though the land has been drastically altered, first by farming and later during reservoir construction, a surprising diversity of grassland birds uses the preserve, including bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks.
Much of this preserve is managed for flood control, as evinced by a dam on Buffalo Creek and the reservoir that results. Careful and creative design of the reservoir has created a natural-looking wetland.
The entrance is on Checker Road just west of Arlington Heights Road.
Use Google Map's Street View to get a 360-degree look at the preserve.
Before heading out, check the current status of trail underpasses. Also...
Safeguard against auto burglary. When property is left unlocked or in plain...
While enjoying activities outside, don’t forget to take action to prevent...
Explore designated trails in scenic preserves.
Use our NEW interactive trail map to help navigate your next adventure...