Rare species, rare communities and high quality natural areas combine to make this a very special preserve. More than half of the land is so ecologically valuable that it is dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve and benefits from special protection rules.
Over 6.5 miles of scenic trails wind through woods to the Des Plaines River. Trails here are open to hikers and, when snow is at least four inches deep, cross-country skiers. Please note: due to the nature preserve designation, bicycles, snowmobiles, dogs, horses and other pets are not allowed at this preserve.
Ned Ryerson Trail: The 2.5-mile crushed-gravel nature trail is wheelchair accessible and designed for easy use by the visually impaired. An audio guide for the trail is available for free checkout at the Welcome Center. This self-guided nature trail was funded by Tenneco Automotive and the Friends of Ryerson Woods.
Learn as you Explore
Borrow our nature themed Explore Backpacks filled with hands-on activities for families with children up to 10 years old. The packs are free to use while in the preserve and can be checked out at the Welcome Center. A driver's license is held as deposit. Choose from four themes:
- General nature
At the small farm area, you may spot sheep, goats, and chickens. Be sure to also look for butterflies that visit the rain gardens.