As promised, here is Part 2 of my stuff on Arbor Hills!
Last week, I focused on the bike trails. This week, I want to focus on the natural trails.
If you’re not able to navigate the terrain of the natural trails, there is a concrete trail that runs though the preserve. This one is great for the kids, both in strollers, and those that want to ride their bikes or scooters. There are also some stations along the way that provide bags to clean up after your pets, so bring your fur babies!
My favorite trails are the natural trails though. Now, when I say natural trails, I’m referring to the trails that are not made of concrete.
I hope this maps helps a little bit. The red circle is where there is another small parking lot. Weekends can get pretty busy out there, especially those few Spring and Fall days when the weather is just perfect. We usually just park in that smaller lot because we plan on the other parking lot being crowded.
There are a few different areas where you find these trails, highlighted by the different colors. The first area I’ll talk about is the area shaded in blue. These trails are named, and there are sign posts to direct you where you need to go.
This is great if it’s your first time there, or you’re not familiar with the area. Some areas are kind of rough, but over-all it’s not too bad. Keep an eye out for roots and rocks. This area tends to be a little more crowded since it’s closest to the parking lot, so if you want to do some trail running, this might not be the best area to do it. However, if you come on a weekday morning, it’s a little less crowded.
If you bring small kids with you, they may need some help in a few areas, but over-all they could get through these trails alright.
Just wanted to add one of my pretty pictures!
The next area I’ll talk about is the area in green. One thing you should know is that there is some maintenance work being done in this area of the preserve. Something about maintaining sewage lines or something. Some parts are closed, so if you’re walking along a trail and see orange, might be best to turn around. There is some heavy machinery at work.
If you do get a chance to go through these trails, you should! They’re more rugged than the area in blue, so they may be more challenging for some. This is a great area to do some trail running. The trails aren’t marked, so it can be easy to lose your way if you’re not familiar. Just keep going and you’ll hit the main concrete trail eventually!
Out on this side there is a pavilion with a bathrooms, tables, and I think a grill. If you’re needed a place to relax a little bit, this is a good spot!
Next is the area in yellow. We haven’t been in that area as much, so I’m doing my best to remember this side. Most of this side is more prairie than forest. Except for a few places, the trails are more flat and the area is more open. It takes a bit of work to get out there, but there are some pretty cool views out that way.
There are some more trails in other areas of the park, like between the yellow and green, but I don’t know those areas as well. I think they’re more of the forest terrain, so look our for those tree roots. The area circles in purple is the bike trails, which I discussed last week.
Here is one of the trails that is in one of the areas not marked on the map above. (At least, I think it’s not. If it is in one of the marked areas, it in the yellow. As hard as I look at the map, I just can’t remember for sure!)
One of the reasons I absolutely love Arbor Hills is even though it’s surrounded by homes and a major tollway isn’t too far away, it’s easy to feel like you’re away from it all. When it’s not too crowded, you can find a nice spot and just sit and relax. Meditate. Whatever. Last time I went out there, I brought some paper and a pen and did a little bit of writing.
It’s also a great place to bring the kids and get them moving. Get them some sunshine and out in nature. Explore.Get some wiggles out. Wear them out before nap-time. It took us several trips for me to feel like we had finally been everywhere there, but I’m not positive that’s true! For a long time it felt like we could go out there and we wouldn’t go the same way twice.
If your kids aren’t really feeling at one with nature, there is a playground there. It gets way crowded on the weekends, but it’s a fairly large playground, and there’s free WiFi there! A bathroom is nearby (though I would suggest bringing some sanitizer. They’re kind of gross.) These are located next to the main pavilion right off the main parking lot. Even there, you might see some wild life. Remember the turtles and lizards I mentioned last time? We didn’t see them on the trails, we saw them hanging out there at the playground!
Last time I mentioned using Pokemon Go to help navigate through the trails. Well, unfortunately, this doesn’t work as well for the natural trails.
There are a lot of trails in that upper left portion of the map there that don’t show up on the app. That area is the blue area of the map up at the top of this post! You can see the bike trails on the upper right of the map and that loop where the main parking lot is.
Also, as I mentioned in the last post, if you’re using some sort of GPS device to track your distance, the trees may interfere with the signal. If you stick to the main concrete trail, I think you should be okay for the most part. Some of your distance may not be tracked, but most of it will be.
During the warmer months, you want to make sure to wear some sort of bug spray. Mosquitoes and chiggers thrive in there, so you want to protects yourself! Also, wear sunscreen, bring plenty of water, maybe some snacks, and maybe a small first-aid kit, just in case.
So, to re-cap, if you’re wanting to do some trail running, the green and yellow areas are great for that (as are the bike trails like I mentioned last week), but if you’re in the green area, watch out for the areas that are closed off. If you’re just wanting to explore, the blue area is great for that.
I really hope if you haven’t checked this place out that you get a chance to soon. It really is pretty awesome. I love having a place where I can get outside for a little while and not feel like I’m surrounded by city.