Kickapoo Woods

Kickapoo Woods is ideal for a range of active pursuits, from bike riding to model airplane flying—with wilder nature just a few steps from the paved trail.

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Kickapoo Woods, a 245-acre forest preserve in Riverdale, is ideal for a range of active pursuits,from bike riding and model airplane flying to calisthenics. The Little Calumet River runs through it on its way to the Calumet-Sag Channel, just 2.5 miles north. Those looking to explore off the beaten path can seek out the wet prairie and savanna being restored to the north of the playfield.

 

Enjoying Kickapoo Woods

Kickapoo Woods has a large open field in the center of the preserve, along Halsted Street and the parking lot. The open field is surrounded by a one-mile paved trail loop and, beyond that, wooded area. This paved trail is the only loop trail in the Calumet region and is open to walkers, bikers, in-line skaters and cross-country skiers. Most of the trail is in full sun but runs along wooded areas. The area is popular with exercisers walking the trail and doing calisthenics in the parking lot area.

 

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The open field contains a model airplane flying field with plenty of benches and picnic tables for visitors to enjoy the action. (Membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics is required to actually fly aircraft in the field.) North of the airplane field, open space is available for pick-up games, catch or general play. A large picnic shelter is near the parking lot. Permits are required for picnic groups larger than 25 people.

 

An additional Forest Preserve District area, Dixmoor Playfield, is just west of Kickapoo on the other side of the Little Calumet River, at the intersection of Thornton Road and Wood Street. Dixmoor features open fields, basketball courts and picnic shelters. Farther north on Wood Street (which turns into Ashland Avenue), Calumet Woods and the Little Calumet Boat Launch add possibilities for visits to this area. Visitors can use the Little Calumet River boat launch for all watercraft, but only outboard motorboats are allowed. The ramp is east of Ashland, on the north side of Jackson Street.

 

Nature at Kickapoo Woods

 A collaboration of Forest Preserve District staff and interns, Friends of the Chicago River, Friends of the Forest Preserves and many volunteers are restoring wet prairie and savanna in sections of Kickapoo Woods, especially in the northern half of the site. Restoration efforts include removing invasive vegetation, restoring stream banks, planting native plants, and improving stormwater management to reduce urban runoff from entering the Little Calumet River.

 

Prairie and marsh plants are returning to the areas where brush has been removed. In the spring and summer, a variety of native plants including blazing star, rattlesnake master, and several types of milkweed unfurl their colorful flowers. Deer regularly congregate in the open field, clustering near the trees, and red-tailed hawks are commonly seen across the site.

  • Location

  • Riverdale, Illinois

    S Cook County

    Best for

    Inline SkatingPicnic GroveHikingBikingCross Country SkiingModel Airplane Field

    Top Three Tips

    1. The one-mile loop trail travels through open areas with minimal shade. Bring water and wear sunscreen on hot, sunny days.
    2. There are many picnic shelter areas throughout the Calumet preserves. The large shelters can accommodate big groups. Groups of 25 or more must obtain a picnic permit.
    3. The model airplane field can provide great entertainment for spectators. The many benches and tables along the “sidelines” make it easy to watch while relaxing.

    Directions

    Coming from the north, take I-57 south to the exit for 127th and head east on 127th. Turn south onto S. Halsted Street. Cross over two sets of railroad tracks. The entrance is on the west side of the street.
Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County