Previously a seasonal retreat for camping and recreational vehicles, this preserve is now a year-round haven for people and wildlife. Visitors enjoy trails, picnicking, birdwatching and nature observation. Century-old oak trees that rise above two scenic lakes, and woodlands, wetlands and marshes offer plentiful habitat for wildlife.
Hike, bike or cross-country ski along 3 miles of trails circling the lakes and adjoining woodlands. You'll cross a bridge and a boardwalk and pass by scenic overlooks along the way. A short woodchip trail winds through open oak groves. 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 preserve trail joins the public sidewalk to the north across Nippersink Road offering access to surrounding communities.
Extensive shoreline restoration efforts and improved fish habitats make Nippersink a great place to fish. Anglers can fish from shore or from two wheelchair accessible fishing piers. Catch-and-release fishing is mandatory at this site. This program makes it recreation for anglers and beneficial for nature. Anglers are encouraged to use barbless, non-stainless steel hooks. Live bait is permitted.
You'll also find five picnic shelters here, four of which can be reserved for special outings. Gatherings of more than 25 people require a permit.
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.
Coming spring 2017, is the story Miss Maple, formerly installed at Ryerson Woods. 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.
Nippersink was acquired in various stages beginning in 2002. The most recent acquisition, formerly the Country Lakes Resort for camping and recreational vehicles, was acquired in 2004. The preserve’s two lake were man-made in 1965 and total 13 acres.
The Natural Scene
Portions of Nippersink are listed on the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, which identifies rare communities, rare species and high quality natural areas statewide that are in need of protection. Several threatened and endangered species have been identified here.
The site contains extensive Advanced Identification (ADID) wetlands that create emergent marsh areas. The wetlands, marsh vegetation and open water ponds, combined with the uplands and oak-hickory woodlands, offer an excellent blend of landscapes ideal for increasing and protecting the site’s bird population. A portion of Squaw Creek flows through the property.
The entrance is on Route 120 (Belvidere Road), just west of Cedar Lake Road and east of Fairfield Road.