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Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve
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The 997-acre Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve was acquired between 1974 and 2006.

The preserve is part of the Thorn Creek preservation system, which conserves approximately 1,600 acres of land.

The preserve is jointly owned and managed by members of the Thorn Creek Woods Management Commission, which include the Forest Preserve District, the Village of Park Forest, the Village of University Park, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

A 906-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1978, 1993, and 2001. This dedication provides permanent protection for the natural resources at the preserve.

Natural Resources

Thorn Creek Woods protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, savanna, wetland, and a portion of Thorn Creek.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes the southern flying squirrel, warbler, woodpecker, and a variety of hawk species.

The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including basswood and sugar maple.

The site is managed with invasive species control and prescribed burning 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


Thorn Creek Woods features 2.45 miles of natural surface trail, ideal for hiking/running.

Visitor Center

Thorn Creek Woods features the Thorn Creek Nature Center, which was converted from a historic 1862 church and is managed by the Village of Park Forest. The Nature Center offers nature education opportunities for families. Learn more about Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve and Nature Center on the Friends of Thorn Creek Woods' Web site.

Programs and Events

A variety of fun and educational public programs are hosted at Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve throughout the year, including nature hikes and workshops. View upcoming programs.
Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve Users
Photograph Courtesy of Stephen White
Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve is located on Monee Road, north of Stuenkel Road in Park Forest.

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For Information
708.747.6320 Programs
815.727.8700 Preserve

Visitor Center:
Friday-Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
Monday-Thursday: Closed
Social Links
Recreational Activities
Wildlife Viewing
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17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433
815.727.8700 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Weekdays
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