Forest Preserves in Elgin

My pups and I are avid hikers and were beyond excited to move to an area so rich in parks and forest preserves.  Our first mission as new residents was to scope out the best preserves in the area.  With so many to choose from, it has been quite a challenge and a ton of fun!  Through our “research” we feel confident that these forest preserves are some of the finest around.  As we continue on our mission we’ll be adding more reviews of our new favorites, as well as pictures of them in their spring and summer glory.


Burnidge Forest Preserve/Paul Wolff Campground – 590 acres, 9 trail miles
38W235 Big Timber Rd., Elgin
Parking, Shelter, Picnic Area, Restroom, Water, Fishing, Camping


Review:  This park is truly exceptional.  Over 9 miles of mowed grass and gravel trails wind through beautiful meadows and forested areas.  There are several loops that you can take, each one offering a combination of terrains.  A number of the trails are also shared by horseback riders so you may encounter the occasional pile on the path.  However, this park is remarkably clean and well maintained.  Burnidge is our destination of choice when we’re looking for a few hours of excellent hiking.  This park also offers stocked fishing ponds, a playground, and camper & primitive campsites with firewood available for purchase on site.



Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve – 467 acres, 3.5 trail miles
39W933 Russell Road, Elgin
Parking, Shelter, Restroom, Water


Review:  The stated 3.5 trail miles is actually closer to 2.5 if you just take the loop.  Despite that fact, there are a few things I really like about this park.  It’s one of the few parks in the area with a paved loop trail, which is especially great after ugly weather or if you’re looking for a stroller-friendly preserve.  Also, the woodland is beautiful and the creek draws a wide variety of wildlife to the area.


Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve – 198 acres, 1.25 mile loop (4.25 miles with River Bend Bike Trail)
35W003 IL Route 31
South Elgin, IL 60177

Parking, Shelter, Restroom, Water, Picnic Area, Fishing, Boat Launch


Review:  Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve is one of my favorite places to take Bailey, my awesome little dachsie client, for our morning hike.  We love it because it offers a paved loop trail through the woods, as well as some rarely-traveled dirt paths, scenic views of the river, and because it connects to the River Bend Regional Bike Trail and Tekakwitha Forest Preserve (2.74 trail miles), which is perfect for those days when we have extra time to spend together.  Whether you’re looking for a moderate walk or a lengthy excursion, Jon J. Duerr is worth checking out.