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Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve
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The 1,541-acre Hickory Creek Preserve was acquired between 1942 and 2010.

The preserve is part of the Hickory Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 2,000 acres of land.

The preserve is the District's largest individual preserve, and the majority of the land was acquired for a regional stormwater reservoir which was never constructed. This access area features the New Lenox Historical Society's historic one-room Schmuhl School.

A 575-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1998. This dedication provides permanent protection for the natural resources at the preserve.

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve is one of three access areas to the preserve. The other access areas are Hickory Creek Junction and LaPorte Road Access, both in Mokena.

Natural Resources

Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, savanna, wetland, and a portion of Hickory Creek.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes more than 50 bird species, such as the pileated woodpecker, yellow rumped warbler, brown creeper, and hermit thrush.

The nature preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including the largest population of the state-threatened savanna blazing star in Illinois, as well as the federally-threatened Mead's milkweed.

The site is managed with invasive species control, prescribed burning, and community restoration to protect and enhance its natural resources. Learn more about the Districtís land management activities.

Due to the sensitivity of the site's natural resources, dogs are not allowed in the nature preserve.

Amenities and Activities


Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve provides access to the 3.68-mile, paved western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway, ideal for the following activities:Hickory Creek Barrens also provides access to the 7.56-mile Route 30 Bikeway, a linear paved trail ideal for the following activities:The Route 30 Bikeway connects the western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway to the 2.9-mile, paved eastern segment at the Frankfort Township Assessor's Office on Route 30.

In addition, Hickory Creek Barrens provides access via street routes to the 21-mile Old Plank Road Trail, a linear paved trail ideal for the following activities:Download a map and guide to the Old Plank Road Trail.


Hickory Creek Barrens offers one picnic shelter for rental, Hickory Creek Barrens Shelter, with a permit capacity of 60 people. Learn more about picnic permits and fees.

Download a map of the amenities at Hickory Creek Preserve.

Programs and Events

Volunteer workdays are held throughout the year to assist in management of the site's natural resources. View upcoming programs.
Hickory Creek Barrens Landscape
Photograph Courtesy of Mary T. Strand
Hickory Creek Barrens Nature Preserve is located on Schoolhouse Road, north of Route 30/Lincoln Highway in New Lenox.

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17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433
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