Heron View Forest Preserve, a 98-acre mix of floodplain and oak-hickory forests, features a serene hike with views of the Sangamon River and spring wildflowers.
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Heron View Forest Preserve opens at 7 AM year-round, weather-permitting. Closing times vary:
The floodplain forests at Heron View help to regulate flood peaks by acting as a sponge that stores water during high volume, and releases water to help maintain flow during drier periods. The forest also removes sediments and nutrients from the river, which improves water quality.
As the name suggests, great blue herons are plentiful at the site, with dozens of nests grouped in some large sycamore trees along the river. A majority of the site is bottomland forest, and Virginia bluebells are abundant in the spring.
Prior to its reforestation in the mid-twentieth century, much of the property was utilized for agricultural production. Considering the relatively short lifespan of the forest, its condition is impressive and illustrates the positive effects of restoration efforts.
The land was purchased through the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant and a donation by Shawn Tabeling and Brian Keigher of Hidden River Development, LLC.
A 1.4 mile loop hike traverses through floodplain and upland forest. Along the trail there are beautiful views of the river, open forest, and a few especially large tree specimens. The trail is rustic, so remember your long pants and hiking boots.
Planning your visit
Access to the preserve is located at the terminus of 2650N, with a small parking area available. The District aims to retain the natural landscape setting and wildlife habitat of the preserve, so facilities are limited. We ask that you plan to carry refuse out with you to keep the preserve clean for future patrons and wildlife. Remember your water bottle because there are no sources of potable water in the preserve. Enjoy your visit!