Buffalo Trace Prairie in Lake of the Woods -- Mahomet, IL (Champaign Co.)

    Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve is located in Mahomet in Champaign County (Illinois). It is maintained by Champaign County Forest Preserve District.The prairie features a 5-mile trail -- don't let that fool you into thinking there are 5 miles of trails. If you follow the arrows, you'll find yourself going through some of the same trails in the opposite direction. The asphalt trail is about a mile long and connects to a bike trail.
    Many common prairie plants grow in this reconstructed prairie. Foxglove beardtongues, gentians, milkweeds, mountain mints, bergamots, wild quinines, white indigos, compass plants, cup plants, prairie docks, rosinweeds, purple coneflowers, greay-head coneflowers, coreopsis, goldenrots, prairie blazing stars, and many more. Blackberries line the trail in places for a quick refreshment in summer. If you venture away from the paved trail, watch out for poison ivy. Deer is abudant as well as many bird species.
    Route 47 divides the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve into two parts. The east side is a typical county park with picnic areas, golf course, a lake, etc. The west side is the prairie. I-74 borders the area on the south and you can never really get away from the traffic noise. Corn fields on the north show how Illinois typically looks in this area now. 
(See photos below).

Basic Info

Area:    900 acres
Access:    accessible from two parking lots on Route 47 just north of I-74. No.1 is on the west side of Route 47 where you can find the actual prairie, No.2 is on the east side of Route 47 within the county park and is by botanical gardens, Museum of the Grand Prairie. No. 1 parking can be full but No.2 is just across the road couple feet north. Another parking, No.3 is on Crowley Road on the west side of the prairie accessible through local roads.
Hours:    dawn to dusk; there are no gates at the parking area on the west side. No.2 parking area is gated and closes betwen 5pm and 9pm depending on the time of the year.
Activities: walking, hiking, bike riding, rollerblading/inline skating, dog walking, running, bird watching, children playground, boat rentals, picnicking (grills available), special events, golf
Trails: A paved trail winds through the park. There are also several loops through the prairie and woods.
Others: .
Official Website: Champaign County Forest Preserve District


(from Champaign County Forest Preserve)


A trail winding through a Buffalo Trace prairie (Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, IL)
Sunset at Buffalo Trace prairie (Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, IL)
Indian grass and goldenrots at Buffalo Trace prairie (Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, IL)

More Photos