Miami Woods

Part of Frank Bobrytzke Forest

Cyclists on the North Branch Trail know Miami Woods for its wooded and sunny stretches and large trail overpass; those who slow down will come to know its restored woods and prairie.

Cyclists and walkers using the paved North Branch Trail for exercise and easy strolls are probably most familiar with 113-acre Miami Woods for its alternating wooded and sunny stretches, and for the large trail overpass spanning Oakton Street. Botanists and birders, who take things a little more slowly, know Miami Woods for its wildflowers and warblers, thriving now after decades of habitat restoration.

 

Enjoying Miami Woods

The paved North Branch Trail—enjoyed for everything from biking, hiking, in-line skating, on-leash dog walking and cross-country skiing—extends about 1.5 miles through Miami Woods, from the Oakton Street overpass in the south to Dempster Street in the north. Picnickers use groves near the parking lots, which access the North Branch Trail.

Detailed signs along the parking area tell Miami Woods’ remarkable restoration story. Restored woodlands and prairies extend for many acres on both sides of the North Branch Trail.

 

Nature at Miami Woods

Restoration work in the prairies along the North Branch of the Chicago River began in the late 1970s. At that time, volunteers found more than 160 native plant species and supplemented them with seed gathered from nearby prairie remnants. Now, visitors to Miami Woods have 35 years of volunteer efforts and seed from those remnants to thank for the beautiful wildflower displays.

 

The Chicago River winds and bends haphazardly along the floodplain, riffling in stretches beneath small bluffs topped by bur, white and Hill’s oak. Birds such as field and savannah sparrows, common yellowthroats, eastern kingbirds and many species of migratory warblers find food and rest by the water and in the prairie above. Great St. John’s wort, bergamot, rattlesnake-master, coneflowers, and blazing stars delight visitors with bursts of color during summer and fall.

  • location

  • Morton Grove, Illinois

    N Cook County


    FPDCC Region 4


    113 acres


    1.5 miles of trail


    Best for

    Ecological Management SiteBird WatchingHikingBikingInline SkatingCross Country SkiingPicnic Grove


    Top Three Tips

    1. Caldwell Avenue bends just before the entrance to Miami Woods, so the well-marked entrance is easy to pass.
    2. Slow down and enjoy the restored prairie and woods on either side of the North Branch Trail.
    3. The North Branch Trail Oakton Street overpass is a fun bridge for kids. It looks slightly imposing from the ground but is easy to walk up.



    Directions

    From I-94, take the Touhy Road exit and head west on Touhy. Turn north onto Route 14/Caldwell Avenue. The entrance to Miami Woods is after the intersection with Oakton Avenue, on the east side of Caldwell. The entrance is well-marked, but appears around a bend in the road so can be easy to miss.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County