Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicagoland Trail: Lyman Woods (Winter)



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.

22 comments:

  1. How great that you can run there from home!

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  2. Yet again another "to do" when I visit family up there! Thanks for telling us about it.

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  3. Nice! I bet the oak woods are really nice with a bright green summer canopy. Thanks for the report!

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  4. oh i know exactly where this is! i will add it to my list. so neat for you! thanks for sharing.

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  5. Ugh all your trail reviews make me want to move up to Chicago. This one, again, is on my list of places to run when I make it up to Chi again.

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  6. Very cool you can go there from home! When it warms up do you ever see snakes? I avoid all the trails down here once the snake season starts (started 2 weeks ago).

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  7. Tiina, check out http://stltrailrunning.com/

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  8. Jeff, I've never seen snakes around here, though they do exist. I'm not sure we have any venomous snakes around here, I'll have to research that.

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  9. It makes me so happy that these places exist despite urbanization.

    Houston has an amazing spot in the middle of town that allows me to go running in the woods and escape cars and work, while allowing me to get home in 15 minutes.

    Also, "milk drunk" is my favorite phrase right now. The look on Henry's face afterwards is just amazing and is one of my true bonding moments.

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  10. That looks like an amazing place to run! Also, thanks so much for your advice on the GoLite shoes, I'm going to start investigating!

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  11. love it as always. Trail Guru getting his run on !!

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  12. Love places close to home that make for a great run!

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  13. looks purdy.

    I likey.

    I could drop a big treadmill right in the middle of all that nature crap and be happy.

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  14. WOW!! I love all the awesome trail runs you have near you. Seriously, I love "running" on the trail with you.

    Wait. Are those pictures from...now? We still have FEET of snow outside.

    OH. AND WOOF WOOF. You won some treats! Well, your dog did. I am just getting ready to hit "Publish"

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  15. Meskis is howling with joy, unless I stepped on his tail. He can't wait to try the new treats!

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  16. Looks absolutely wonderful and awesome that it's close to home!

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  17. I'm so jealous of everyone who has all these great places to run. I get to see subdivision after subdivision. It's great!

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  18. love those pics...makes me wanna be a trail runner!

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  19. Man. Pretty soon that whole area is going to be lush and green. I love Chicago in the spring!

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