Goose Lake Prairie -- Morris, IL (Grundy Co.)

    Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area is located by Morris in Grundy County (Illinois), about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the largest tallgrass prairie remaining in Illinois. Settlers planted trees for fences and windbreaks, drained the lake to farm the land, and mined the clay for pottery and firebrick. The area was also strip mined for coal. Trails over the reclaimed spoil mounds offer a nice view of the prairie and marshes. The area provides a nesting habitat to many rare bird species, such as upland sandpiper or Henslow's sparrow.
    Many common prairie plants grow here. Shooting stars and wild hyacinths, spiderworts, foxglove beardtongues, gentians, milkweeds, mountain mints, obedience flowers, white indigos, compass plants, cup plants, prairie docks, rosinweeds, purple coneflowers, greay-head coneflowers, goldenrots, and many more. Watch out for poison ivy.
    ..(see photos below).

Basic Info

Area:    2,537 acres
Access:    Take Exit 112 from I-80, go south on 47, across the river and turn left (east) on 19 (Pine Bluff Rd). Alternatively, take Exit 240 from I-55 west and follow Lorenzo Rd/Pine Bluff Rd. Either way turn north to Jugtown Rd and the entrance is on the right side of the Jugtown road (east) about 1 mile north.
Hours:    dawn to dusk
Activities: walking, hiking, picnicking, running, bird watching, cross country skiing
Trails: 7 miles of trails loop through the prairie. One of the loops is hardpacked, wheelchair accessible.
Others: Adjacent 2,000-acre Heidecke Lake Fish and Wildlife Area is open for fishing and hunting.
Official Website: Illinois DNR



Cragg Cabin, one of the first two story homes in Grundy County. Original build in 1830, reconstructed. Goose Lake Prairie (Morris, IL)
Overlooking Goose Lake Prairie (Morris, IL)
A boardwalk through marshes and wetlands. Marsh Loop Trail in Goose Lake Prairie (Morris, IL)
Cragg Cabin hiding behind the trees. Goose Lake Prairie (Morris, IL)