Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Today's Sunset:


Your Forest Preserves

your forest preserves


Countywide Map & Guide
Buffalo Creek Trail Map
Buffalo Creek Reservoir Fishing Map


408 acres


Cross-Country Skiing


Drinking Water
Picnic Tables
Public Parking

Buffalo Creek

Set in the midst of bustling suburbs, this 408-acre 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. 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. The trails run through open areas within the preserve, crossing several creeks, skirting the reservoir and traversing restored prairie.



Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve is located on the southern border of Lake County in Long Grove. [View on Google Maps]

The entrance and parking area are located on Checker Road just west of Arlington Heights Road.



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.


The Natural Scene

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.

© Kim Karpeles

Preserve News

Preserve safety tips
Board approves 100-year Vision and Strategic Plan
Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve Public Open House

Preserve Improvements

MWRD's Buffalo Creek Reservoir Expansion & Preserve Improvements