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Press Release: Forest Preserves of Cook County’s New Web Map Feature Helps Residents Find Fall Color

A smartphone showcasing new fall color feature via interactive web map

Plan a trip to nearest colorful location, or explore somewhere entirely new

Fall foliage is set to peak in October this year, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County can now help visitors find the closest fall color hot spot via a new interactive web map feature.

“This new filter makes it easier for folks to find fabulous fall foliage near them,” says Forest Preserves of Cook County General Superintendent Arnold Randall. “The new Fall Color web map filter, plus a smartphone or other device, makes planning a fall color adventure close to home that much easier.”

In the first update since launching the interactive web map, found at map.fpdcc.com, Forest Preserves staff compiled a list of spots most likely to feature dramatic fall color and marked them so users can easily navigate to their nearest Fall Color hotspot.

Created in 2021, the interactive web map helps users locate hundreds of Forest Preserves locations, trails, amenities and activities available throughout 70,000 acres of natural public land in Cook County. The new Fall Color activity filter joins 28 other searchable activities—many of which are free to participants, from fishing and biking, to Nature Centers and picnic spots, to canoeing and birding.

sugar maples at River Trail Nature Center in fall
The sugar maples around River Trail Nature Center showing off their color in the fall.

Here are some highlights of great places to find fall color in the Forest Preserves:

  • Deer Grove, N Quentin Rd, north of W Dundee Rd: When conditions allow, the entire Deer Grove complex is ablaze with color, and the site’s topography makes it a must-see destination for fall foliage enthusiasts.
  • River Trail Nature Center, 3120 Milwaukee Ave in Northbrook: The sugar maple bush offers a stunning display of yellows and oranges.
  • Thatcher Woods, Chicago Ave, west of Thatcher Ave: Traverse unpaved trails to explore this quality floodplain forest with an incredible canopy of shimmering yellows and oranges.
  • Orland Grassland-South, Orland Grassland Land and Water Reserve and Orland Grove, just west of La Grange Road near Orland Park: While most people focus on woodlands and forests in the fall, the grasslands offer intense fall color too, with neon pink, yellow and orange. Keep an eye out for late-blooming goldenrods, asters and gentians to enhance your color display.
  • Schubert’s Woods, Sauk Trail, west of Ashland Ave: Schubert’s Woods features bright yellows in the understory and lovely burgundy oaks in the canopy. Keep an eye out for some big trees here and at other nearby preserves.

These are just a few sites. It’s easy to find the most convenient location to wherever you happen to be: just punch up the map, let your phone share your location, and select “Fall Colors” in the activity list (or type it in).

Fall foliage peaks early this year

The new feature’s release is timely. Forest Preserves Resource Operations Manager Nick Kuhn says a dry spring followed by rainy summer and crisp September evenings means some of the most vibrant colors in nature can be expected this month.

“We hope folks will grab their smart devices, lace up their hiking boots and get ready to capture the beauty of nature’s vibrant transformation,” Randall says. “Now’s the time to enjoy exploring the stunning autumn scenery—and it’s all close to home!”


About the Forest Preserves of Cook County
Don’t you sometimes just want to escape? Explore the natural beauty of Cook County for an hour, a day or even a night. When you’re surrounded by 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful there’s no better place to feel free.