Harms Woods

the North Branch of the Chicago River at Harms Woods
The North Branch of the Chicago River at Harms Woods.

From walking and cycling to viewing beautifully restored habitats, Harms Woods has it all. This popular forest preserve is bisected by the North Branch of the Chicago River. To the east of the river, visitors can take advantage of the North Branch Trail; to the west of the river, visitors can walk along unpaved trails and enjoy spring wildflowers, butterflies and birds thriving thanks to years of dedicated restoration efforts.

On this page:


Locations & Things to Do

Harms Woods includes multiple locations:


Harms Woods-North

Entrance

Harms Rd & Old Orchard Rd
Cook County, IL 60077
(near Skokie)

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Indoor bathroom open April 1 to October 31 depending on weather conditions.
  2. Portable bathroom open November 1 to April 30 depending on weather conditions.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Harms Woods-Central

Entrance

Harms Rd, south of Old Orchard Rd
Cook County, IL 60077
(near Skokie)

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Portable bathroom open May 1 to October 31 depending on weather conditions.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Harms Woods-South

Entrance

Harms Rd, north of Golf Rd
Cook County, IL 60077
(near Skokie)

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Portable bathroom open May 1 to October 31 depending on weather conditions.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Glenview Woods

Entrance

Harms Rd, south of Glenview Rd
Glenview, IL 60025

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Calvin R. Sutker Grove

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Harms Flatwoods 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


Trails

North Branch Trail System

The North Branch Trail System offers paved and unpaved trails along approximately 20 miles of the North Branch of the Chicago River, making it a premier biking route in the northern suburbs.

Location: Chicago, Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie & Winnetka

Surface

Paved & Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

36.7 miles

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts

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

pale-leaved sunflowers at Harms Flatwoods Nature Preserve
Pale-leaved sunflowers at Harms Flatwoods Nature Preserve.

Nature at Harms Woods

Visitors to Harms Woods, particularly west of the river, will be treated to an incredibly varied spring woodland wildflower display, including wild geranium, trout lilies, blue cohosh and white trillium. Because habitat restoration efforts have removed much of the invasive brush at Harms, abundant wildflowers feed butterflies and birds from spring through fall. Chorus frogs call from small ponds. Visitors have seen great crested flycatchers, chestnut-sided warblers, and Cooper’s hawks. Wait by the river a while and you may spot a mink as it splashes in the water.

East of Harms Road, Harms Flatwoods is a unique, often very wet woodland. Because it can be somewhat more buggy than many preserves, it tends to attract more dedicated naturalists than casual hikers. From the northwest corner (at Harms and Old Orchard), visitors can walk a gravel loop trail to see uncommon ferns and other flatwoods specialties. This area has also benefitted from significant habitat restoration.

Learn more about Harms Flatwoods here:


Volunteer Opportunities

Harms Woods

Join North Branch Restoration Project volunteers as they remove invasive European buckthorn, brush and weeds from this fine oak woodland situated along the North Branch of the Chicago River. Harms Woods is notable for its rich native flora. The plant list includes over 350 native species, over 40 percent of which are conservative species found almost exclusively in healthy, intact ecosystems.


Harms Flatwoods

Harms Flatwoods is dominated by huge bur and swamp white oaks, with an understory of black ash, winterberry, hazelnut and other native trees and shrubs. Flatwoods communities are very wet in the spring and fall rainy seasons because a clay pan underlying the top layers of soil tends to hold water. Join North Branch Restoration Project volunteers in removing invasive species, allowing the rich understory of this unique ecosystem to thrive.