Beautiful Places to Enjoy Fall Colors Nearby and a Chicagoland Fall Leaf Guide

Outdoor Places to GoFall

Fall is such a lovely season in Illinois! Those vibrant falling leaves mixed with just the right amount of sunshine and crisp air make for the most picture-perfect days. We’re lucky to have beautiful places locally to relish this gorgeous time of year. A picturesque autumn backdrop is like none other for family photo shoots, bike rides, and nature walks. Take advantage of this awesome list of the very best spots to explore the fall colors with your family!

This article is sponsored by Corsalus Financial. They feel strongly that talking to your children about money is a great way to encourage a healthy financial future. They have tips on how to start talking to your kids about money, plus many more family-friendly resources on their Financially Aware Kids page.

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Fall Leaf Guide for Little Explorers!

There’s nothing more fun for little autumn explorers than searching for colorful leaves! Our handy leaf guide illustrates all the common leaves found in the Midwest to take along on your adventure, similar to that of a scavenger hunt. It’s perfect for a walk around the neighborhood or in the forest preserve. Try to find all the leaves on the page! Click here to download the Leaf Hunt (pdf file) and print it out or click on the image below to be taken to a higher resolution version.

Beautiful Places to See Fall Colors in the Chicago Suburbs

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve 
Northgate Rd. (entrance)
Darien, IL 60439
(630) 933-7248
A well-known spot for hiking in Illinois with over 2,500 acres of prairies, savannas, and woodlands. Don’t miss our insider tips before you go! This map with directions includes where to park, too.

Lyman Woods Nature Center
901 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 963-9388
Featuring 150 acres of oak woods, prairies, and marsh habitats. Start at the Interpretive Center before hiking through Lyman Woods, which is known for its trails through diverse wildlife, native landscaping, and a butterfly garden.

Maple Grove Forest Preserve
Maple Ave. (entrance)
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 933-7200
Smaller woods with a one-mile trail where you’ll find a delightful display of colors when the maples begin to change. Near the entrance, there’s a fun playground area as well as a picnic pavilion. Here’s a map with directions including where to park.

Patriots Park/Barth Pond
55th & Grand
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 960-7500
A half-mile paved walking trail circles a large pond at this local park. There’s also a nice playground, picnic shelter, and tables nearby if you would like to pack a lunch.

The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois 53
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 968-0074
This tree-filled destination boasts 16+ miles of hiking trails, a Children’s Garden, and countless educational programs. In October, you can stroll down the scarecrow trail, too! Purchase timed-entry passes/tickets prior to your visit.

Twenty-Sixth Street Woods
26th St – West of Maple Ave
La Grange Park, IL 60526
(800) 870-3666
Hike or bike your way through this picturesque trail. It’s a great way to take in the changing leaves. Picnic groves and canoe landings on site, too.

LaGrange Park Woods
10 W 31st St
La Grange Park, IL 60526
(800) 870-3666
Across the street from Possum Hollow and connected to the larger Salt Creek and Bemis Woods, this is a smaller wooded area that is perfect for little fall explorers.

Knoch Knolls Park
320 Knoch Knolls Road
Naperville, IL 60565
(630) 864-3964
Wander through the hiking and biking trails at this beautiful park that includes a playground, places to picnic, fish, boat and kayak, as well as an 18-hole disc golf course.

Central Park
1450 Forest Gate Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Oak Brook Park District’s Central Park features looped trails perfect for viewing the vibrant colors of the season, several playgrounds, fishing ponds, and a bike path.

Fullersburg Woods
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 850-8110
A 220-acre prime wildlife spot with numerous trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing and boating. Features a fantastic Nature Center as well as Graue Mill and Museum.

Mayslake Forest Preserve
1717 West 31st Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 933-7200
Mayslake features 13 acres of wetlands, 9 acres of lakes/ponds and a 15-acre savanna and restored prairie. There’s a one-mile trail circling a lake and several historic Mayslake Peabody Estate buildings that would be a prime spot for leaf-spotting!

Trailside Museum of Natural History
738 Thatcher Ave
River Forest, IL 60305
(708) 366-6530
Neat place to explore that features unpaved walking trails near the museum. You can also wind through Thatcher Woods’ beautiful oak woodlands and floodplain forest.

Bemis Woods
Wolf Road between 31st Street and Ogden Avenue
Westchester, IL 60558
(800) 870-3666
Connected to a series of forest preserves, take your pick of shorter trails or venturing off for a longer trek with the family. A wide range of activities await, including birdwatching and the Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course.

Cantigny Park
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 668-5161
Nicely landscaped grounds, a three mile nature trail, and a fun fall event lineup make this the perfect spot to see fall colors.

Cosley Zoo
1356 North Gary Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 665-5534
A smaller zoo that holds a cute pumpkin fest in October. This is a fantastic way to check out the changing fall leaves and all kinds of animals at the same time!

Danada Forest Preserve
3S580 Naperville Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 933-7200
Scenic rolling terrain offers places to hike, fish and picnic as well as the beautiful Danada House and Danada Equestrian Center.

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve
Butterfield Rd. (entrance)
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 933-7200
Nearly 900 acres of land and 7 miles of trails amidst mature upland woods featuring 150-year-old oaks. See this helpful map with directions including where to park.

St. James Farm Forest Preserve
Winfield Rd. (entrance)
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 933-7200
Contains more than 100 acres of woodlands, prairies and wetlands including a nearly 2-mile trail to discover fall colors. View this map to see where to park before your visit.

Little Red Schoolhouse
9800 Willow Springs Rd
Willow Springs, IL 60480
(708) 839-6897
Self-guided, gorgeous hiking trails surround this large nature center with live animals and neat nature-themed activities.

In search of more fall fun? Head over to our Fall Activities for Kids page! Does your family have a favorite place to see fall colors that we missed? Let us know in the comments below so we can add to our list!

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