Crabtree Nature Center

Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills

Discover the natural history and local wildlife displays in the Crabtree Nature Center exhibit building or explore Crabtree’s rolling, glacier-formed landscape on three self-guided trails.

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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Closures & Cancellations

Buildings, grounds, trails and bathrooms at Nature Centers are closed to the public until May 11.

All public Forest Preserves events are also cancelled until May 11.

Learn more about COVID-19 cancellations and closures.


Location, Hours & Things to Do

Crabtree Nature Center

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Service dogs are allowed at most public locations. View accessibility policies.

Hours

Mar - Oct: 9am - 5pm, closed FridaysNov - Feb: 9am - 4pm, closed FridaysClosed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day

Closures & Alerts


a family exploring the trails at Crabtree Nature Center

Walking Trails

Crabtree Nature Center offers three unpaved walking trails that wind through woodlands, wetlands and prairies.

Surface

Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

3.4 miles

Things to Do

  1. Service dogs are allowed at most public locations. View accessibility policies.

Hours

Mar - Oct: 8 am - 5 pmNov - Feb: 8 am - 4 pmClosed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day

Closures & Alerts

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

Events & Programs

Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sat, Apr 11 • 10 am

Conservation@Home: Natural Lawn Care

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sun, Apr 12 • 1 pm

Some of our Furry Friends

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Wed, Apr 15 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Thu, Apr 16 • 8 am

Bird Walks

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Fri, Apr 17 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
two children in the nature play area at Crabtree Nature Center
Cancelled Sat, Apr 18 • 12 pm

Earth Day, Nature Play

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sun, Apr 19 • 1 pm

Secrets to the Undergrowth

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
american bullfrogs on a rock at Crabtree Nature Center
Cancelled Fri, Apr 24 • 7:30 pm

Frog Calls

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sun, Apr 26 • 1 pm

Red-wing Racket

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Wed, Apr 29 • 7:30 am

Bird Walk

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sun, May 3 • 1 pm

Birds & Blooms

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Thu, May 7 • 8 am

Bird Walks

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
american bullfrogs on a rock at Crabtree Nature Center
Cancelled Fri, May 8 • 7:30 pm

Frog Calls

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Sat, May 9 • 8 am

Bird Walks

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Cancelled Sat, May 9 • 11 am

World Migratory Bird Day and Big Sit

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Cancelled Sun, May 10 • 1 pm

Spring Smartphone Photos

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, May 13 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Sunset at Arthur L. Janura Preserve
Fri, May 15 • 7:30 pm

Setting Sun Photo Meet-Up

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, May 17 • 1 pm

Spring Ephemerals

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
#BirdThePreserves logo
Tue, May 19 • 7:30 am

Bird Walk

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
a wetland area at Deer Grove-East
Sun, May 24 • 1 pm

Wetlands-What’s the Difference?

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
a girl participating in archery
Special Event Sun, May 31 • 12 pm

Explore the Forest

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Thu, Jun 4 - Fri, Jun 5 • 9:30 am

Gone Fishin’ Day Camp: Session 1

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Tue, Jun 9 - Thu, Jun 11 • 9:30 am

Habitat Hideout Day Camp

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Tue, Jun 16 - Thu, Jun 18 • 9:30 am

Ecosystem Explorer Camp

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Jun 24 - Fri, Jun 26 • 9:30 am

Survivor Camp

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Thu, Jul 9 - Fri, Jul 10 • 9:30 am

Gone Fishin’ Day Camp: Session 2

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
All Events »

Field Trips & Classroom Visits

Field trips and classroom programs may be scheduled throughout the year at no cost. Contact any of our six educational centers for more information about field trips or classroom programs. All programs are subject to limits of available staff and space.

Crabtree Nature Center
3 Stover Rd
Barrington Hills, IL 60010 (view web map of Crabtree Nature Center)
847-381-6592

A sandhill crane in a wetland at Crabtree Nature Center. Photo Kris DaPra.
A sandhill crane in a wetland at Crabtree Nature Center. Photo by Kris DaPra.

Nature Notes

Crabtree Nature Center is home to more than a thousand acres of rolling, glacier-formed landscape in northwest Cook County, and features a variety of habitat including woodland, wetland and prairie. These habitats provide a rest stop along the migratory bird highway, where over time many species of birds have been recorded as breeders or migrants.

Everyone from the avid birder to the nature novice is invited to stroll along the trails to view the local flora and fauna or stop at the blind at Crabtree Lake to view the hosts of waterfowl that visit in spring and fall.

Each season brings a different experience for visitors at Crabtree Nature Center. In spring, wildflowers carpet the woodlands. The summer brings blossoms in the meadows and prairies. Fall brings autumnal tones to the forest canopy and the native grasses. Winter brings solitude, broken by the calls of various birds visiting the grounds.

Before 1830, this land was clothed in forest, prairie and marsh, but settlers brought rapid change to the landscape. Farming and homesteading practices led to prairies being plowed, marshes drained or dredged, and timber cut for building material.

Since its purchase in the mid-1960s by the Forest Preserves, Crabtree has been slowly returning to its natural state through restoration by Forest Preserves staff and volunteer efforts.


Nature Center Rules

  • Pets are not permitted on Nature Center grounds, including the parking lots.
  • Nature Centers are unable to accept injured, orphaned or abandoned wildlife.
  • For your safety and for the protection of natural areas, please stay on marked trails. Trails are for hiking only.
  • Bicycles are only allowed in Nature Center parking lots, or at provided bike racks.
  • For the benefit of other visitors and wildlife, please maintain respectful noise levels at all times.
  • Picnicking is not permitted on Nature Center grounds. An adjacent picnic grove can be opened for pre-registered groups on weekdays.
  • Food or drink is not permitted in Nature Center buildings.
  • With the exception of water or sports bottles, food and drink are not permitted on Nature Center trails. Please dispose of litter in proper receptacles.
  • Collecting of any kind is prohibited, as is the use of metal detectors. The fine for picking wildflowers is $500.
  • For the protection of animals and visitors alike, please do not feed the wildlife.
  • Be mindful of closing times for trails, the Nature Center building and parking lot.
  • Please report safety hazards or suspicious activities to the Nature Center staff.
  • Cross-country skiing is not permitted on Nature Center trails.