Homepage - Winter
Jump to Content
 
 

Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation

Your Preserves

Print This Page
 
Alert

Holiday Hours

The Ryerson Woods Welcome Center will be closed on the following dates in observance of upcoming holidays: December 23–26 and January 2. The Welcome Center's vestibule will remain open on December 23, 26 and January 2, allowing access to restrooms, maps and brochures.

WA OR CA ID NV UT MT WY CO AZ NM TX OK KS NE SD ND MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA FL TN KY IL WI MI MI IN OH SC NC VA WV MD DE PA NJ NY CT RI MA VT NH ME

Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area



Address

21950 North Riverwoods Road
Riverwoods, IL 60015

Hours

6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Maps

Trail Map
Directions

Acreage

565 acres

Activities

Exhibits
Hike Lake County Challenge
Hiking
Self-Guided Trails & Exhibits
Summer Camps
Cross-Country Skiing

Amenities

Flush Toilets
Heated Restrooms
Drinking Water
Public Parking
Trails

Programs

School & Scout

Volunteer at Ryerson Woods
 

Related Sites

Edward L. Ryerson Welcome Center

Related Documents

Countywide Map and Guide

Rare species, rare communities and exceptional 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.

The preserve's rich natural and cultural history is recognized by its dual designation as an Illinois Nature Preserve (a selection saved for ecologically high quality land) and as a Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places.

Due to its nature preserve designation, bicycles, snowmobiles, dogs, horses and other pets are not allowed at this preserve.

Trails

Over 6.5 miles of scenic trails wind through woods to the Des Plaines River. Trails here are open for hiking and, when snow is at least four inches deep, cross-country skiing.

Trails lead past historic buildings, next to the Des Plaines River and into a woodland dense enough to block out most human-made noises. Some visitors have even said that they feel transported far from Lake County as they follow the trails.

Educational Opportunities

A variety of public programs and field trips for school and scout groups are offered here throughout the year.

Ryerson also hosts popular annual events like Maple Syrup Hikes and Halloween Hikes. Stop in at the Welcome Center for a calendar of events and programs, or subscribe to Horizons, our free quarterly magazine. You can also read it online.

Trail Tales

Literature comes alive with our Trail Tales bilingual English and Spanish exhibits displayed in a series of seven panels that tell a story about nature.   

Follow the charming story, Winter is Coming, by Tony Johnston, as you hike along the half-mile trail. This captivating story reveals the pure joy of nature, and the beauty, silence and wonder of the winter season from a young girl's perspective. Children and parents alike will be engaged in the tale as the girl quietly watches nature's busyness, and captures her observations with her notebook and colored pencils.

The tale leaps off the page through Trail Time activities suggested on each panel that help readers better understand the story’s theme by exploring the nature around them. 

To encourage continued reading, each trail ends with a Little Free Library, a wooden box pre-stocked with a selection of nature-related books. The free library operates on an honor system for users to take a book they can keep or return, or to contribute a book.

The trail is accessible from the parking lot near Brushwood Center.

Explore Backpacks

Borrow our nature themed backpacks filled with activities for families with children up to 10 years old to help you learn as you explore. 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: plants, farm, birds, and nature.

Farm

At the small farm area, you may spot sheep, goats, and chickens. Be sure to also look for butterflies that visit the rain gardens.

History

Local history records document that Lake County’s first European settler, Captain Daniel Wright, owned property within the preserve. In the 1920s, a small number of families, including the Ryersons, Borlands and Fishers, purchased land here and built log cabins as weekend retreats. Learn more »

In 1942, the Ryersons built a summer estate home, which became the center of activity for their Brushwood Farm, known for its Arabian horses.

In 1966, the Ryerson family began to donate land to the Lake County Forest Preserves that eventually totaled 257 acres. The other families followed their lead and also donated and sold land enabling Ryerson Woods to grow to its current size.

The Natural Scene

Ryerson Woods supports some of Illinois' most pristine woodlands and several state threatened and endangered species. One of the best examples of a northern flatwoods forest, a rare northern Illinois landscape, and most of the floodplain forest left in northeastern Illinois can be found here. Learn more »

The preserve supports a variety of state threatened and endangered species. More than 150 bird species and nearly 600 species of flowering plants have been seen at Ryerson Woods. Springtime brings special wildflower magic and autumn puts on a dazzling show of color in the maple forest.

Location

The entrance is on Riverwoods Road between Half Day Road (Route 22) and Deerfield Road, just west of the Interstate 94 Tollway.

PHOTOS

 
  • ERCA01
  • ERCA02
  • ERCA03
  • ERCA04

Maple Tree Tapping


Hike and Read Along the Trail

Ryerson_Trail_Tales_Winter_is_Coming_2

Take part in self-guided storybook reading while you hike. Literature comes alive with our Trail Tales bilingual English and Spanish exhibits. Follow the charming story, Winter is Coming, by Tony Johnston, which reveals the pure joy of nature, and the beauty, silence and wonder of the winter season from a young girl’s perspective.

News

close (X)