Ryerson Woods is a little gem in the middle of Lake County suburbia. It is right on the bike path along Riverwoods Road, so it makes a great destination for anyone within biking distance. Our family has been riding up there since the kiddos were in the Burley. There's a small working farm/petting zoo with sheep, ducks, chickens, turkies for the kids. And there are miles of excellent and clean hiking trails through the woods and along the river. In the fall, it is the most beautiful place in the area, IMHO. It's not like some suburban Disneyland, in that it is an entertainment attraction. Rather, it is quiet, beautiful, and puts you into what nature is all about--just nature. Everything is clean, and doesn't have that "creepy-people-lurking-around" feel of some of the forest preserve areas. There are nice facilities for meetings. In fact, I have reserved the Nature Center for a couple offsite business meetings (brainstorming, etc) over the years. Overall, it is a high quality natural gem.
One of the loveliest hiking areas in Lake County -- more than six miles of well-marked trails. Check the web site, www.lcfpd.org, for special programming -- i.e., Halloween Hikes. There are farm animals (sheep, goats, chickens), bee hives, etc. One of my favorite experiences was watching a mama racoon lead her four babies single-file along the Des Plaines river. You'll find plenty of parking and clean rest rooms. The Welcome Center loans nature-themed backpacks with kid-friendly activities. Leave Rover home -- no pets allowed.
The former country estate of steel magnate Edward Ryerson, the serene grounds are now maintained by the Lake County Forest Preserve District and populated by deer, foxes, snapping turtles, and a phenomenal array of birds. Especially delightful early in the morning, the easy walking trails wind through woods, where you're likely to see deer moving through, and open fields alive with bees and butterflies. Home of documented rattlesnake "roundups" in the 1930s, the snakes are still seen today, albeit extremely rarely. A visitor's center and a working farm are there along with reproduction early settlers' cabins. The sugar maples are tapped in early spring for making syrup in kettles over open fires. All in all, an understated, utterly uncommercial delight.
Ryerson's has a farm for the kids, but to me the real feature is just the beautiful scenery. Bring a camera. Winter time you can cross country ski or snowshoe. When you get to the river, the photo ops are numerous.
A fantastic place to go and view nature and enjoy some solitude. I have brought visitors from out of state and everyone Loved it. There is a really nice drive and view road and many fantastic trails to hike on. There is a mini farm with some animals for the kids. I brought my daughter here 26 years ago and she is now 29 and still has fond memories of places which have no concrete and Natural beauty everywhere you look. Please do yourself a favor and stop by and enjoy Nature as it should be, undisturbed and totally Natural.
During my one-week stay in the Chicago area, I chose this place hoping to be able to make some great wildlife shots. The area is really beautiful, pure nature. I also saw lots of animals like chipmunks and other stuff, but all of them so shy and quick that they were gone before I could even get my camera ready. Guess you need to lay on the look-out like a hunter with their gun to be successful. Also no butterflies like indicated on the forest preserves website. Anyway, I enjoyed a really relaxing walk, listening to voices that are completely different to what you will hear in a similar place in Germany. Will return here sometime.