Schiller Woods

 

This busy preserve is one families can visit weekend after weekend, all year long.

Just east of O’Hare Airport, 284-acre Schiller Woods is a multi-use preserve with a wide array of activities. With ample parking, this busy preserve is one that families can visit weekend after weekend and have plenty to keep their interest. Beyond the wide-open playing fields, woods take over, offering a chance to duck away and experience nature along the Des Plaines River.

 

Enjoying Schiller Woods

 

Schiller East and West are large open playfields for kites, games, organized athletics and general running about. Thirteen group shelters can be rented for large gatherings (groups of 25 or more require a permit), but the expansive fields make it easy to throw down a blanket for a small picnic anytime. The preserve’s winding roads are lined with parking spaces, so parking is convenient whether visitors are heading to a shelter, the pond or the sledding hill.

 

The pond and sledding hill at Schiller East are great for kids. The six-acre pond has an open shoreline, with several areas where it is easy to fish along the shores or just watch the ducks and wildlife. In winter, the sledding hill is easy to find. Signs at the preserve’s entrance make it easy to see if the hill is open. This is a child-safe hill with four mulched “up” paths and a wide and gentle downhill slope.

 

Across Irving Park Road from the Schiller East entrance is the model airplane field. Rows of benches and a few tables allow families to watch the airplanes zoom across the field.

 

For a quiet break from the open playfields of Schiller East and West, Schiller South offers easy access to the Des Plaines River Trail and smaller paths through the woods. This small parking lot, on the south side of Irving Park Road just west of the Schiller West entrance, is steps from the path and the river. Heading south, several easy-to-follow footpaths head east from the main trail a little deeper in the woods. Che-Che-Pin-Qua Woods, also on the south side of Irving Park Road, has a small parking lot with one shelter and a quieter picnic spot.

 

Nature at Schiller Woods

 

Human-made Schiller Pond contains largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, crappie, bullhead and carp. Along the forested trails west of the playing fields and south of Irving Park Road, hikers can spot deer families (including bucks with impressive antlers), great horned owls, winter wrens, American tree sparrows, brown creepers, black-capped chickadees and Cooper’s hawks.

 

Along East River Road, Schiller Woods also contains a pocket of remnant prairie, sedge meadow, and wetland harboring a colorful variety of plants and insects, including some uncommon plant species. The brown trail accesses this beautiful area and its wildlife. Visitors are welcome, but please don’t pick the wildflowers.

 

Stewards from the Des Plaines River Valley Restoration Project host regular volunteer workdays here to benefit the plants and animals. They meet monthly at Grove 8. You can join this fun, important hands-on work, too—visit the Forest Preserves’ volunteer page for details.

  • Location

  • Chicago, Illinois

    N Cook County


    FPDCC Region 3


    284 acres


    0.83 miles of trail

    unpaved

    Best for

    Ecological Management SiteSheltersfishingModel Airplane FieldSledding

    Top Three Tips

    1. Irving Park Road is four lanes wide and quite busy. Entrances for Schiller East and West are on the north side of the street, while entrances for Schiller South, the model airplane field and Che-Che-Pin-Qua Woods are on the south side.
    2. Large maps at the entrance of both Schiller East and West guide visitors to activity areas, including the pond, sledding hill and trails. The unpaved Des Plaines River trail follows the river and is accessible at the Schiller Woods south entrance.
    3. The gentle sledding hill is carefully manicured and safe for small kids with easy "up" paths.


    Directions

    From I-294 take the Irving Park Road exit east. From I-90, take the Cumberland Avenue exit south to Irving Park. Entrances for Schiller Woods East, West and South, along with the Model Airplane Flying Field are along Irving Park Road.

    For the Schiller Playfield, follow Irving Park Road to Cumberland and turn left/north. Turn right/east on Montrose and the parking lot will be on the south.

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