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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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
Wed, Nov 20 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Fri, Nov 22 • 7 pm

Night Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Nov 24 • 1 pm

Aw Nuts!

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

Winter Homes

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Dec 4 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Dec 8 • 1 pm

Where Did the Cold-blooded Creatures Go?

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sat, Dec 14 • 4:30 pm

Evening Owl Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Dec 15 • 1 pm

Creative Invasives

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Dec 18 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Fri, Dec 20 • 7 pm

Evening Owl Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sat, Dec 21 • 1 pm

Winter Solstice

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Dec 22 • 1 pm

Winter Walk

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Dec 29 • 1 pm

Secret Sea

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Jan 5 • 1 pm

Survival Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Jan 8 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Fri, Jan 10 • 7 pm

Wolf Moon Hike

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

Goliath Glaciers

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

Branching Out

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Mon, Jan 20 • 1 pm

Creature Feature: Coyotes

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Jan 22 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sat, Jan 25 • 7 pm

Stars & S’mores

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

Owl Investigations

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Feb 2 • 1 pm

Stalking the Sleeping Groundhog

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Feb 5 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Feb 9 • 1 pm

Close Encounters of the Slithery Kind

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Fri, Feb 14 • 7 pm

Date Night in the Starlight

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Feb 16 • 1 pm

That Smells Like Rejection

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Mon, Feb 17 • 1 pm

Species Spotlight

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Feb 19 • 10 am

Wee Wanderer Wednesdays

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sat, Feb 22 • 6 am

Starry Night

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.