Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center building in Lemont

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center’s visitor center and classroom include exhibits on geology, human and natural history and habitat management. Frequent educational programs and interpretive hikes teach visitors about our natural environment.

On this page:

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Closures & Cancellations

Nature Center grounds trails and bathrooms are open seven days per week, from 8 am to 4 pm. Nature Center exhibit buildings remain closed. Drinking fountains are not available, please bring your own water. Parking will be limited to 50% capacity to help limit crowding.

Learn more about COVID-19 cancellations and closures.

the interior of visitor center at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
The exhibit area at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center.

Location, Hours & Things to Do

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

Things to Do & Amenities

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


Year-round: 9am - 4pmClosed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day

Closures & Alerts

Bridge and trail at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. Photo by Christine Karge Dewey.
Photo by Christine Karge Dewey.

Walking Trails

Explore the Sagawau Environmental Learning Center grounds on four walking trails during spring, summer and fall. During winter, Sagawau’s trails transform to groomed cross-country skiing trails—no walkers allowed.



Estimated Total Length

2.6 miles

Things to Do

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


Year-round: 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

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.

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th St

Sagawau Canyon
Photo by Kimberly Greyson-Bost.

Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve

Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve supports rare and unique plant and animal habitat and features the only natural exposure of bedrock in Cook County.

Guided walks are scheduled spring through fall and managed by Sagawau Environmental Learning Center. Individual access is restricted to protect this unique and fragile site. Call 630-257-2045 for more information about guided walks.

Sagawau Canyon Nature Preserve
(part of Sagawau Environmental Learning Center)
(near Lemont)

a skier at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

Cross-Country Ski Trails, Rentals & Lessons

In winter with adequate snow, Sagawau Environmental Learning Center becomes Sagawau Nordic—a premier full-service cross-country ski center that provides ski rentals, groomed trails, and lessons at all levels from a PSIA Gold Medal Ski School.

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th St

From mid-December to early March, Sagawau Nordic is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm, weather permitting.

  • All ski programs are snow dependent. Call 630-257-2045 for trail conditions.
  • Facilities include a warming lodge, restrooms, drinking fountains, picnic tables and free parking.
  • Trail pass (free from the lodge) must be displayed while skiing.
  • No pets or alcohol, please.

Ski Rentals

Rentals are available from 9 am to 2 pm. Equipment is for use at Sagawau only and must be returned by 3:45 pm.

Each rental package includes skis, bindings, boots and poles. Classic and skate skis available. All youth and adult sizes.

To rent equipment:

  • You must supply a valid driver’s license or $100 deposit.
  • You must be 18 years or older, or accompanied by parent or guardian.
Ski Rental Rates
Group (10 or more, must schedule in advance, Mon-Fri only)$5/person
Lesson / Rental Combo$30/person

Ski Lessons

Learn to ski with a PSIA-certified professional ski instructor! Lessons cover the basic skills of flatland skiing and getting up and down easy hills.

  • Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 am from January through the first weekend in March.
  • $20/person.
  • For ages 12 and up.
  • Limit 12 skiers per lesson. Registration begins the Monday prior to lesson date, by phone or in-person.
  • A parent or guardian must sign for children under 18.

Skiers’ Responsibilities

  • Be aware, ski with care. Use courtesy and common sense.
  • Ski within your ability. Consider visibility, speed and terrain, especially on hills.
  • Keep to designated trails.
  • Obey all signs; ski trails are one-way.
  • Respect Ski Lesson Zone when students are present.
  • Left side of trails are groomed for skating, right side for classic skiing.
  • Trail users ahead or downslope have the right of way. Announce your presence when passing.
  • Keep a safe distance from other skiers.
  • When stopped, please move off track.
  • Please do not litter.
  • Trail pass must be displayed.

Volunteer Opportunities

Activities may include cutting brush, pulling weeds or collecting seeds, depending on the season. Learn about your local environment from dedicated staff while helping the Forest Preserves. Tools, gloves and training are provided.

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.