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Things to do in Palos Hills

Palos Hills is a small city in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and one of the greenest in terms of the parks and preserves in the area. It’s easy for Palos Hills to be so community-based with its population of about 17,800. In a way, it’s also a college town with Moraine Valley Community College. Consider this your guide to the best parks and recreation when passing through Palos Hills.

Lake Katherin Nature Center And Botanic Gardens

This botanic garden and nature preserve is situated right along with Lake Katherine, where they have plans to build a gazebo across its canals. They also have plans to build a children’s woodland obstacle course and playground. Until it’s done, there are plenty of paddle boats available to rent and sail about on the lake. Botanical gardens include the herb, butterfly, waterfall, and shade gardens. Children also have plenty to do with the climbing wall, animal mounds, and different terrains to explore, like a forest or prairie. Of course, the lakeside trails are great for hiking and biking.

Lake Katherine Nature Center And Botanic Gardens

7402 Lake Katherin Dr

Palos Heights, IL

60463

No more than three miles from Palos Hills

Swallow Cliff Woods

Swallow Cliff Woods is best visited in the winter when you can sled. The bluff goes up 100 feet and once was the site of a toboggan slide. Even though it is no longer in use, the site is still prime sledding real estate. The 125 stone steps make for a good workout regardless of the season. The trails around the woods go for about eight miles, so hikers can also get a workout from a visit to Swallow Cliff Woods.

Swallow Cliff Woods

South La Grange Road

Palos Park, IL

60464

No more than three miles from Palos Hills

Palos Park Woods

The North and South sections of the Palos Park Woods make up one of the greenest locations in the Chicagoland area. Several woods make up this whole forest preserve, and we’ll look at each part individually, but many begin their hike journeys at the Palos Park Woods North. There’s no lake or pond within range, but Mill Creek does run through Palos Park and can be crossed on make-shift bridges from branches. If you’re lucky, you may come across a deer or possum. The trailhead is also pretty close to a picnic grove.

Palos Park Woods

11850 S 88th Ave

Palos Park, IL

60464

No more than three miles from Palos Hills

Palos Hills Golf Course

Keeping in theme with nature and greenery, there is the Palos Hills Golf Course. While it only has nine holes, tournaments and leagues play here when the sport is in season. The course is public and doesn’t require membership. Of course, they also have a practice green and driving range.

Palos Hills Golf Course

7301 West 105th Street

Palos Hills, IL

60465

Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve

There isn’t a cranberry plantation anywhere, but there is a peat bog explored by woodland trails. Slough is another word for swamp, so you may see some marshlands on your hike. Wildlife includes frogs, turtles, and other amphibians.

Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve

9600 Wolf Road

Willow Springs, IL

60480

No more than six miles from Palos Hills

Palos Trail System

Cook County’s Forest Preserve’s largest trail system, with over 40 miles of collective trail, is the Palos Trail System. These trails can also be biked, skied, or even horseback-ridden. There is an Equestrian Center on the preserve for such excursions. Lakes along the trails can have great fishing spots where it is permitted. One of the lakes, Bullfrog Lake, is located by a year-round campsite for tents and RVs. Maple Lake has rentable canoes and kayaks as well. Several picnic groves are also located in wooded areas throughout the preserve. See the burial grounds for one of the first nuclear reactors from the University of Chicago in the Red Gate Woods.

Palos Trail System

107th St,

Palos Hills, IL

60465

Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve

Another great nature preserver in Palos Park is Cap Sauers. This nature preserve has a pretty diverse set of terrains with woodlands, ravines, and wetlands. Prairie groves can also be seen along the way. The shades of the woods are especially pretty in the fall when the leaves change color. Some areas are right out of a painting.

Cap Sauers Holding Nature Preserve

11501 Wolf Rd

Palos Park, IL

60464

No more than three miles from Palos Hills

Spears Woods

Everything at Cap Sauers can be found at Spears Woods but in a much more streamlined fashion. Its neighbor across 95th St is the Cranberry Slough Nature Preserve, so both can be hiked on the same day. In fact, some of their trails connect. Spears Woods is a great way to continue your local exploration of the woodlands and prairies in the Palos forest.

Spears Woods

9016 South La Grange Road

Willow Springs, IL

60480

No more than six miles from Palos Hills

Sagawau Canyon

On the west side of the forest preserve that stretched into Lemont, there is the Sag valley site with a canyon formation not seen anywhere else in the state. Bridges and trails stretch over creeks and the canyon for a unique hiking experience. The canyon is also host to some of Illinois’ most uncommon plants. Their growth is caused by the unique dolomite rock present in the canyon formations. This is one of Cook County Forest Preserve’s most unique sites.

Sagwatu Canyon

12545 111th St

Lemont, IL

60439

Just about 10 miles from Palos Hills