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Chicago, IL: Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area

Scout for waterbirds in the marshes and peer through dense tallgrass on this easygoing 5.25-mile hike through Goose Lake Prairie.

Trip Tools

Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area bears a close resemblance to Illinois’s landscape 150 years ago, when a sea of prairie grass covered the Prairie State. While exploring the state’s largest stand of tallgrass prairie, you’ll find cattail marshes, small ponds visited by waterbirds, and dozens of species of flowers and prairie plants. In July, the prairie explodes with wildflowers of all shades; in September, goldenrod and compass plants form a yellow carpet over the landscape. Near the park’s ponds, watch for great blue herons, kingfishers, and snapping turtles.Mapped by Ted Villaire

To Trailhead

From Joliet, I-80 W to I-55 S to exit 240. Turn right (west) onto Lorenzo Rd. (becomes Pine Bluff Rd.). In 6.9 miles, turn right onto Jugtown Rd. In 1.1 miles, turn right into Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area. Follow road 0.7 mile to parking area.

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