Forest Preserves of Cook County

A couple walking on a path through a wooded area.The Forest Preserves of Cook County are a place where Cook County residents can create their own adventure, and boast nearly 70,000 acres of wild and wonderful that serve as a gateway to healthy and active living. The Forest Preserves is making healthy living easier for local residents by providing opportunities to connect with nature and outdoor activities such as exploring more than 300 miles of trails while biking, running, jogging or cross-country skiing; experiencing recreational activities like paddling, kayaking, canoeing and sledding; or joining free or low-cost programming at six nature centers and dozens of outdoor events.

The Forest Preserves is also promoting all the benefits nature has on human health and wellbeing through the Wellness in the Woods initiative. It doesn’t take much to experience the health benefits that nature has to offer. Whether it’s being active by climbing 293 limestone steps at Swallow Cliff, being playful while zipping through the forest canopy at the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course in Bemis Woods, or being restful while spending a night under the stars at one of the Forest Preserves’ campgrounds, people of all ages can feel free to enjoy numerous activities while benefitting from nature in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Whether residents have an hour, a day, or even a night to enjoy healthy-living activities, the adventure is theirs to create within the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

What’s Happening in Suburban Cook County?

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is working to improve entry points at gateway sites to encourage people to enter into the Preserves and take advantage of the natural open space available in Cook County.

Gateway sites will include:

  • Improvements to signage and wayfinding at entry points and throughout the sites;
  • A unique landmark to welcome visitors, creating an easily identifiable gateway;
  • Kiosks that will include maps and information for people to engage with and learn about the site; and
  • Interpretive signage about the natural and cultural resources and history of the site where appropriate.

Download the Gateway Master Plan to discover more about gateway sites.

Feel Free to learn more about your Forest Preserves of Cook County
and Wellness in the Woods


Healthy HotSpots that benefit where we Play

Forest Preserves Smoke-free Parks

Discover these Healthy HotSpots near you

Find these Healthy HotSpots and others on the map.

Go to the Healthy HotSpot Map

Learn the ways healthy HotSpots support
our health and well-being

Healthy HotSpots help us to eat better, move more, live tobacco-free, and respond to emergencies.