Deer Grove

two sandhill cranes in a wetland at Deer Grove-East

Deer Grove, the county’s first forest preserve, features nearly 2,000 acres of diverse habitat such as rolling upland forest, wooded ravines, wetlands and prairie. Following years of dedicated restoration work, two areas within Deer Grove are recognized by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission as some of the highest quality natural areas in the state.

On this page:


Locations & Things to Do

Deer Grove includes multiple locations:


Deer Grove

Entrance

N Quentin Rd, north of W Dundee Rd
Cook County, IL 60074
(near Palatine)

Picnic Groves

1, 3, 4, 5 (view picnic grove PDF map of Deer Grove)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Deer Grove-West

Entrance

W Dundee Rd, east of Northwest Hwy
Cook County, IL 60010
(near Barrington)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Deer Grove-East

Entrance

W Dundee Rd, west of N Hicks Rd
Cook County, IL 60074
(near Palatine)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Camp Reinberg

Set in the oak woods of historic Deer Grove, Camp Reinberg provides access to miles of trails, beautifully restored landscapes and nearly unlimited recreation opportunities.


Camp Alphonse

Entrance

Dundee Rd, west of N Quentin Rd
Cook County, IL 60010
(near Barrington)

Things to Do & Amenities

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Deer Grove West Woodland & Wetland Nature Preserve

Illinois Nature Preserve: This land is designated as one of the highest quality natural areas in the state by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. This status includes increased levels of legal protection and management. Learn more on the Illinois Nature Preserves Page.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Jens Jensen Grasslands & Woods Land & Water Reserve

Illinois Nature Preserve: This land is designated as one of the highest quality natural areas in the state by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. This status includes increased levels of legal protection and management. Learn more on the Illinois Nature Preserves Page.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


a person riding a bike at Deer Grove

Deer Grove Trails

Surface

Paved & Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

15.5 miles

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts

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

Trail Access

Access the Deer Grove Trails at any of these locations. Check out the trail maps listed above to find on-street or bikeway access points.


Deer Grove
N Quentin Rd, north of W Dundee Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove)
(near Palatine)

Deer Grove-West
W Dundee Rd, east of Northwest Hwy
Cook County, IL 60010 (view web map of Deer Grove-West)
(near Barrington)

Deer Grove-East
W Dundee Rd, west of N Hicks Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove-East)
(near Palatine)

Camp Alphonse
Dundee Rd, west of N Quentin Rd
Cook County, IL 60010 (view web map of Camp Alphonse)
(near Barrington)

Recommended Hikes

Introductory Hike

  • Length: 2.8 miles
  • Surface: Paved
  • Terrain: Flat

For an easy introduction to Deer Grove, try the Red Paved Loop. Start at the Deer Grove-East parking lot, located on the north side of Dundee Road about a half-mile west of Hicks Road. Begin where the entrance sign designates the “Zero/2.8 mile” distance indicator.

Along the way, you will meander through restored wetlands and prairies. Look for grassland birds such as sedge wrens in the summer and northern shrikes in the winter in the large field northwest of the model airplane field.

There are picnic shelters, comfort stations and water available at Deer Grove East.


Intermediate Hike

  • Length: 2.7 miles
  • Surface: Unpaved
  • Terrain: Rolling

For those with more time, try the Brown Unpaved Loop within Deer Grove-East. Start at the parking lot, located on the north side of Dundee Road about a half-mile west of Hicks Road. Begin at the main entrance; this 2.7-mile loop will return you to your starting point.

The Brown Unpaved Loop winds over bridges and through restored savannas, prairies and wetlands. In the spring, look for vernal (temporary) ponds, which support native amphibious species, among other wildlife.

Picnic shelters, comfort stations, and water are available at Deer Grove-East.


Advanced Hike

  • Length: 5.4+ miles
  • Surface: Unpaved
  • Terrain: Hilly

Seeking a challenge? Try hikingthe Yellow Unpaved Loop within Deer Grove-West. This trail will guide you through scenic rolling woodlands, over bridges, near deep ravines and to on other trail routes.

Enter the parking lot at Deer Grove-West and take the left fork, following the driveway until you arrive at the third parking area. You can pick up the Yellow Unpaved Loop just south of this parking lot. Trail information and bathrooms are available at this entrance.

If you’re feeling adventurous, extend your journey by taking the Tan Unpaved Trail to cross Quentin Road into Deer Grove-East. This will take you past Camp Reinberg, which offers tent and cabin camping. Take the Tan Unpaved Trail back to the Yellow Unpaved Loop to continue your journey.


a common snapping turtle at Deer Grove-West
A common snapping turtle at Deer Grove-West.

Nature Notes

Deer Grove is home to a variety of habitats, some of which are protected within state-designated nature preserves. Throughout the preserve, numerous small wetlands attract wildlife such as turtles, frogs and salamanders, including several rare species. Large swaths of wetlands, upland forest, woodland, savanna and prairie are maintained and restored with the help of volunteers.

In the spring, look for vernal ponds (temporary springtime wetlands), which support many local amphibians, including blue-spotted salamanders and chorus frogs. Spring is an ideal time to see woodland wildflowers such as Dutchman’s breeches and wood anemone. The spring woodland offers cover and food for migrating birds. Listen for veeries and hooded warblers in the deep woods and savannah sparrows along the edge. Summer hikers can spot jewelweed along the ravines and beneath the trees, which is a favorite plant for hummingbirds.

Please enjoy the preserve from the existing trail system and avoid walking off trail when conditions are muddy.  The best way to explore Deer Grove off trail is to join one or more volunteer workdays held in both Deer Grove East and West. You will get to know Deer Grove up-close and personal while restoring the land.


a closeup of prairie flowers at Deer Grove-East
Restored prairie at Deer Grove-East. 

Restoring Deer Grove

The Forest Preserves has worked on major restoration projects at Deer Grove since 2008, thanks to funding from Openlands and the City of Chicago’s O’Hare Modernization Mitigation Account.

With the prairie and wetland restoration at Deer Grove-East underway, the focus shifted to the oak woodland on the west side of Deer Grove in 2014.

Contractors removed invasive brush and trees, treated other invasive plants, stabilized ravine slopes to prevent erosion and amended drainage ditches to help wetlands retain water longer.

Dedicated volunteers at Deer Grove will ensure the long-term success of these considerable investments.

Learn more about these restoration projects:


stone blocks and a topographic map in a clearing

Interpretive Areas

Signs and structures that help tell the story of nature at Deer Grove dot the 2.8 mile Red Paved Loop in Deer Grove-East. Each of the four interpretive areas features stone and metal elements that draw attention to basic nature themes: land, sky and water.

The Forest Preserves developed the interpretive areas in partnership with Chicago-based Openlands, which also funded the design.


Deer Grove-East
W Dundee Rd, west of N Hicks Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove-East)
(near Palatine)

a group of volunteers looking at a water sample while monitoring macroinvertebrates at Deer Grove.
Volunteers monitoring macroinvertebrates at Deer Grove. Photo provided by Deer Grove Volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunities

The goal of the Deer Grove Natural Area Volunteers is to restore the native plant and animal communities found in Deer Grove to pre-settlement conditions. Volunteers make this project possible and new faces are welcome. No previous experience is necessary, though knowledge is always valued. Come out and meet local citizens who care about our local ecosystems. Typical activities include: seed collecting and planting, brush cutting, controlled burns, rare species monitoring, guiding tours and planning programs.

Deer Grove-West Volunteers


Deer Grove-East Volunteers