Bemis Woods

two people walking dogs on the Salt Creek Trail at Bemis Woods

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Bemis Woods offers a wide range of activities such as birding, hiking and biking, and plenty of open space and groves for picnics. Amenities at this 480-acre site include paved and unpaved trails, a canoe launch and the exhilarating Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course.


Locations & Things to Do

Bemis Woods-North

Entrance

Wolf Rd, south of 31st St
Cook County, IL 60523
(near Oak Brook)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Bemis Woods-South

Entrance

Ogden Ave, west of Wolf Rd
Cook County, IL 60558
(near Western Springs)

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Portable bathroom open November 1 to April 30 depending on weather conditions.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to SunsetTreetop Adventure Hours: Contact Go Ape at 800-971-8271

Closures & Alerts


Trails

Salt Creek Trail System

The Salt Creek Trail System’s paved and unpaved trails run along the Des Plaines River, Salt Creek and Brookfield Zoo, offering visitors views of a glacial valley, gravelly moraine and Salt Creek’s unique pool and riffle environment.

Location: Brookfield, Forest View, La Grange Park, Lyons, McCook, North Riverside, Oak Brook, Riverside, Westchester & Western Springs

Surface

Paved & Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

16.4 miles

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts

*Please be a courteous trail user: Follow posted signs and our trail rules and etiquette.

a person climbing a net on the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure Course in Bemis Woods

Treetop Adventure Course

The seven-acre course, built and operated by Go Ape, offers guests a unique two to three hour trek through the forest canopy. The course includes:

  • 5 zip lines for a total of 2,837 feet of exhilaration
  • A “double Tarzan swing” that allows 2 participants to simultaneously swing from 30 feet and safely land in a cargo net
  • A series of rope ladders and bridges, spider’s webs and trapezes
  • 40 obstacles situated 40+ feet up in the forest canopy

Journey Course with 18 obstacles and two zip lines also available.


Canoe Landing

A carry-in canoe landing provides access to Salt Creek.


Nature Notes

Both Bemis Woods North and South are considered excellent birding locations because of the creek habitat. A large variety of migrant songbirds, as well as cuckoos, indigo buntings and veeries, use this 400-acre wooded area along Salt Creek.

Many woodpeckers have been spotted in the area, including red-headed, red-bellied, downy, hairy and pileated varieties. Best bird viewing is usually during migration from early April to early June and mid-August to late October. Ducks and deer are also visible along the creek shores behind the wild blackberry.


a person taking buckthorn to the fire at a Bemis Woods volunteer workday
Photo by Kris DaPra.

Volunteer Opportunities

Come and explore the natural communities of Bemis South, which include remnant oak woodlands on a terrace above the floodplain forest lining Salt Creek. Help dedicated volunteers cut brush, pull weeds or collect seeds depending on season and weather. All levels of experience welcome.