With more than 3,400 species of trees and plants, the Morton Arboretum is a living museum, a local treasure, and a worthwhile destination west of Chicago. This easy, 1.6-mile walk through the East Woods is a great way to end your trip, or to experience the slightly wilder side of the manicured grounds.
Beginning at the Big Rock Visitor Station, head north on the Heritage Trail. Bear right twice within the first hundred yards and hike west on the Woodland Trail. The trail cruises a well-drained but moist canopy and passes several interpretive signs. Less than a quarter mile from the visitor station, turn north and begin a rolling stroll past common natives such as ironwood, oak, sugar maple, and white ash before turning downhill as the trail curves west.
At mile 0.6 a glacier-deposited hunk of granite—Big Rock—marks a 3-way junction. Stay straight on the trail to continue east past an old field that is vibrant with wildflowers in spring. Near its end, the trail loops across the park road and continues south toward the trailhead.
Note: Entrance fee required. Consider the arboretum as a winter destination as well. The trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers when snow covers the trails.
-Mapped by Ted Villaire