Lyman Woods Forest Preserve contains150 acres of oak woods, prairie, and marsh habitats that supports over 300 species of native plants. Its preservation in 1987 represents the cooperative effort of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the Downers Grove Park District and the village of Downers Grove. The preserve also houses the William F. Sherman Jr. Interpretive Center, a green building exemplifying the latest in environmentally friendly building practices and technology.
Lyman woods is just off I-88 west of Chicago and within running distance of my house. While not shown on the map, there is an entrance located behind the Good Samaritan Hospital parking garage, leading to beautiful singletrack, which connects with the main trail. There are 2 of these singletrack trails leading from this hidden entrance, so it is possible to run a long loop from this starting point.
The main trail is mostly a doubletrack composed of dirt, gravel, and leaves in some sections, and mown grass for the majority of the balance, though short sections of asphalt remain, dating back to when this was private property.
Lyman Woods boasts plenty of water features, including a large lake, which has a floating dock for easy viewing.
During your visit, you'll find three rare kames, glacially deposited hills of gravel, which support native prairie and oak woods. The most outstanding feature is a 19-acre oak woods that has remained undisturbed since it was purchased by the Lyman family in 1839. Today it serves as one of the few examples of the pre-settlement landscape that dominated the Downers Grove area.
In some of the swampier sections, the preserve has both old and newer sections of boardwalk to improve access.
There is an amazing diversity of plant life, including six species classified as rare in the Chicago region. Catch a glimpse of animals including deer, coyote, fox, Cooper's Hawks, Great Horned Owls, a wide variety of reptiles, amphibians, insects, and numerous songbirds.