The Greenbelt Forest Preserve, located in Lake County, Illinois, provides an educational opportunity while also enjoying the general outdoors.
Greenbelt Forest Preserve
As part of our Camp Jenny initiative this summer, I’m taking the boys on a hike every week. And so we’re having a great time exploring the different hiking options here in Lake County, Illinois.
This past week we decided to try out Greenbelt Forest Preserve. While this preserve also hosts the Greenbelt Cultural Center, we were just there for an enjoyable hike. And our spritely Boston Terrier, Lucy, also came along with us.
Greenbelt is actually divided by Greenbay Road. We decided to hike the side with the self-guided trail, and I’m so glad we did! I had no idea that not only we were going to get in a nature hike, we were going to get in some educational time as well.
Along the path you’ll find signs that explain something nearby or give you information about the area. From learning about what is in bloom depending on the time of the year to the kinds of animals that live in the Greenbelt Forest Preserve, I can see why this is a popular destination for classrooms.
We really liked learning about what a tree looks like after it’s hit by lightning as well as understanding the kinds of birds that call Greenbelt home.
But for me, the highlight was learning about the significance of Greenbay Road! Because we travel to Colorado every summer, we’re very familiar with the continental divide, where all water either flows to the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean depending on which side of the divide it falls. (And yes, I have the cheesy pictures to prove that I’ve stood on either side of the divide.)
What I didn’t know is that there is a mid-continent divide and I’ve been driving on it for years. (Mind blown, folks!) Turns out Greenbay Road is actually the divide, deciding whether water flows to the Atlantic Ocean or to the Gulf of Mexico.
Apparently, Greenbay Road is based off of a Native American trail, which they naturally created using the highest (and therefore the driest) route to take. Talk about cool, right?
The preserve offers 5 miles of trails for hiking, 4 miles of trails for bicycling and cross-country skiing, and a 1-mile self-guided nature trail (which is what we took). It also has the Greenbelt Cultural Center, which hosts community events and educational programs.