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.

Hours

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.

Surface

Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

2.6 miles

Things to Do

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

Hours

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

No upcoming events at this location. All Events »

Field Trips & Hybrid Learning

Our hybrid learning and field trip offerings allow teachers, parents and youth leaders to use forest preserves and nature centers as an outdoor (or virtual) classroom. Our hybrid learning programs serve kindergarten through 12th grade students and meet Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), while our field trips serve everyone from pre-K to adult learners.

Contact one of our nature centers or experience.nature@cookcountyil.gov for more information or to discuss programs tailored to your learning objectives.

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th St
630-257-2045

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)
630-257-2045

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
630-257-2045

From mid-December to early March, Sagawau Nordic is open seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm, weather permitting. Call 630-257-2045 or visit Sagawau’s Facebook page for trail conditions.

Important information and COVID-19 precautions:

  • Building is open for restrooms only—masks are required to enter the building and use the restrooms. No gear storage, changing or food/beverages allowed in the building.
  • All personal gear must be left in vehicle. Skiers with their own equipment must change shoes/ski boots in their own vehicle.
  • Skiers with their own equipment will receive the required, free trail pass at greeting location at lower level of Learning Center at the Nordic Center.
  • 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.

Important information and COVID-19 precautions:

  • Masks are required to enter the building, rental area and bathrooms.
  • All renters must come prepared in the attire they will ski in—no gear storage or changing allowed in the building. Wire racks are available to leave shoes while renters are skiing.
  • Renters must reserve a time online to rent equipment (link coming soon). Each week’s reservations are posted on Sunday. Up to four people or one family group will be able to reserve a time slot every half hour from 9 am to 2 pm.  
  • Payment is by credit or debit card only at the time of rental. Cash will not be accepted.
  • Returned equipment will be disinfected with Virex Disinfectant Cleaner or other industry-approved disinfectant and placed in lodge room for 48 hours to dry under UV light treatment.
  • To rent equipment you must be 18 years or older and supply a valid driver’s license. Sagawau will store the driver’s license in a paper envelope and return it once the ski equipment is returned.
Ski Rental Rates
PackageRate
Individual$15/person
Senior$10/person
Family$40/family
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.

Important information and COVID-19 precautions:

  • Lessons are reservation only. Participants must reserve a time online in advance (link coming soon). Each week’s reservations are posted on Sunday.
  • Lessons are held at 9:30 am daily.
  • Lessons cost $20/person and are for ages 12 and up. A parent or guardian must sign for children under 18.
  • Maximum group sizes: One family of up to six or one non-family group of up to four.
  • Sagawau may cancel or stop offering lessons based on guidance from public health agencies.

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.