Chicago, IL: Monee Reservoir

Monee Reservoir’s 2.5-mile nature trail offers a family friendly wetland wander through a suburban wildlife sanctuary (and an idyllic fishing spot).
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Monee Reservoir’s 2.5-mile nature trail offers a family friendly wetland wander through a suburban wildlife sanctuary (and an idyllic fishing spot).

Thirty miles south of Chicago, Monee Reservoir is a year-round destination for picnicking families or fishermen sacrificing minnows to the largemouth bass beneath its murky surface. At 2.5 miles, the Reservoir's nature trail makes for an easy afternoon escape from suburban Chicagoland.
From the trailhead on the east side of the visitor’s center parking area, this grassy nature trail begins by skirting the north end of Monee’s main reservoir and crossing a wooden bridge. Doglegging north around two smaller ponds, the trail cuts between a cluster of oak and maple trees before stopping just short of Pauling Road.
Turn south for a 10-minute detour to a grassy wetland cul-de-sac—a perfect picnic spot and bocci-player’s dream—or continue west through a shady stand of hardwoods and cross a second bridge. Watch for blue herons and geese as the raised trail makes a half-mile loop around a marshy wetland before backtracking toward the visitor’s center.
-Mapped by Justin Pattison

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 2.7

Waypoints

MON001

Location: 41.3944244, -87.7636795

The trail begins at the northeast corner of the parking area.

MON002

Location: 41.3944473, -87.7614365

This wooden bridge affords great southern views of the 46-acre reservoir.

MON003

Location: 41.3976898, -87.7602844

The trail turns to gravel briefly after this 3-way junction. Turn left for a 0.25-mile round-trip detour to a great picnic spot, or continue straight into the woods toward the end loop.

MON004

Location: 41.3956375, -87.7591705

The cul-de-sac dead end: When the ponds are dry, this trail might close a smaller loop, but don't plan to cut your route short with a detour here.

MON005

Location: 41.3976707, -87.7607498

A second wooden bridge is nearly 2/3 of a mile from the trailhead.

MON006

Location: 41.397377, -87.7650299

Bear left or right at this Y-junction to make a 0.5-mile loop around a pond before heading back to the trailhead.

Trailhead

Location: 41.3944397, -87.7636871

The marked, grassy trailhead. © Justin Pattison

Reservoir

Location: 41.3944931, -87.761467

View of the 46 acre reservoir from first foot bridge. © Justin Pattison

Junction

Location: 41.397728, -87.7603455

This 3-way junction leads left to a pond-side cul-de-sac or straight into the woods toward the trail-end. © Justin Pattison

Cul-de-sac

Location: 41.3956718, -87.7591476

© Justin Pattison

Bridge

Location: 41.3976898, -87.7607727

The second footbridge is shaded by hardwoods. © Justin Pattison

Final Loop

Location: 41.3974304, -87.7650528

This Y-junction splits the trail for a final prairie loop around a small wetland area. © Justin Pattison