*** This post was published in 2010. For up to times, dates, admission and registration information please visit the Lake County Forest Preserves Event Calendar.
I’ve always believed Lake County’s greatest asset is our wealth of beautiful forest preserves. Folks in Lake County cherish the outdoors and it shows in more than 28,800 acres of protected natural space. Autumn is the perfect time of year to share these sylvan treasures with our children. This Halloween, why not take a break from the usual candy-coated madness and go take a hike?
The Friends of Ryerson Woods and the Lake County Forest Preserves annually sponsor “Halloween Hikes” weekends in mid October at The Ryerson Conservation Area near Deerfield. Hour-long hikes begin every 30 minutes between 6-8 pm.
Your guided hike will follow a candlelit trail through Ryerson Woods. Along the way, stop to watch costumed forest characters perform short skits to entertain the kids. The key word here is “entertain,” not “frighten.” This is not a haunted hike and won’t be scary so even your littlest goblins can enjoy themselves. Many of the performers are actual Forest Preserve Naturalists, so expect the skits to be educational as well as amusing. The trail will end at the Albright Cabin where you can cozy up to a warm fire with cider and a fresh doughnut.
You must pre-register in a designated time-slot to participate. Book your spot online or by calling 847-968-3321.
- Register Early! Time slots have limited spots and fill up fast.
- Costumes are encouraged. Remember to bundle up if it’s chilly.
- The actual trail is approximately one mile long, so bring a stroller or wagon for the wee ones who may tire easily.
- The trail is through the actual woods on cut grass, so expect a little mud if the weather has been wet.
- Upon arrival, sign-in at the Welcome Center but expect a short wait as they gather groups for departure. Don’t worry, there will be entertainment while you wait.
- There is a small farm near the Welcome Center where you can see cows, goats, sheep and chickens. Since this is a night program, come early before it gets too dark if you’d like to see them.
- The program will operate rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, it will move indoors to the Welcome Center.
- The Ryerson Woods Welcome Center is Platinum LEED Certified, the highest certification awarded through the U.S. Green Building Council. It uses a geothermal heating and cooling system as well as recycled rainwater.
- The Albright Cabin was built by the artist Ivan Albright, a painter born outside Chicago in 1897. Albright’s work has been described as dark and mysterious, as befits this time of year!
- The conservation area is home to several rare species including the blue-spotted salamander, wood frog, and red-shouldered hawk. It’s mating season for White-Tailed Deer, so be on the lookout for these elegant creatures.
The Ryerson Conservation Area or Ryerson Woods is a 556-acre preserve located near Deerfield. The entrance and parking area are located on Riverwoods Road between Half Day Road (Route 22) and Deerfield Road, just west of I-94.