We were in the Joliet area and couldn’t resist a chance to hike at Pilcher Park. I was on a quest for spring flowers and heard the Virginia Bluebells were abundant here. Not only did we find Bluebells but we had a fantastic hike through the woods and enjoyed a visit at Bird Haven Greenhouse. These are true Joliet gems!
Disclosure: Some links may be affiliate links meaning at no cost to you I receive a small commission from each purchase. Read full disclosure policy here.
Want more places to go hiking? Follow us as we try to conquer the #52HikeChallenge!
Getting Started at Pilcher Park
First things first, I double checked to make sure dogs were allowed here because our pug would be joining us.Good news, leashed dogs are welcome. I also contacted Pilcher Park to see if the Bluebells were in bloom and where. The helpful staff suggested trying a trail close to the Nature Center, so after downloading the map I thought it would be best parking at the Nature Center at 2501 Highland Park Dr.
The Nature Center may have been closed but we took a few minutes to scope out the 50 foot totem pole and the log cabin style building. Word is the totem pole was brought back from Alaska and donated to the local boy scouts. Behind the Nature Center we found birdhouses and a garden.
Search for Virginia Bluebells
I was told the brown trail, Trail of the Oaks, would be my best bet to find the Virginia Bluebells. So off we went and began at the trailhead to the right of the Nature Center (if you’re facing the building.) After a few minutes, I spotted the clusters of blue. So pretty! The rest of the hike, we found more spring ephemerals blooming.
Get hiking…and get lost
One of the major reasons for our trip to Pilcher Park was to see the Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory. While we could have taken the paved Pilcher Interpretive Trail to the Greenhouse, the hike would have been too long for our puggy. So we thought it would be best to park by the Greenhouse. Let me tell you – the greenhouse is such a hidden gem! I can absolutely see why the greenhouse is a popular spot for weddings.
Flowers, bridges, waterfalls, and fish. It was perfect! Just a few steps away we visited the desert. The blooming cacti were a nice surprise!
Another way to enjoy Pilcher Park is get back in the car and take a leisurely drive through the park.
Final thoughts of Pilcher Park
While we only did one hike here, I wouldn’t hesitate to come back and try the other trails. Maybe even try the paved trail that loops back to the greenhouse.
While You’re Here
- Looking for a playground? We saw one off Gougar Rd. on the way to the greenhouse.
- Hike the rest of Pilcher Park’s trails.
- Explore Joliet’s Route 66 attractions. More on this later!
- Hike a unique trail at Joliet Iron Works.
Location: 2501 Highland Park Dr., Joliet
Parking: Plenty of parking
Crowded: We hiked on a Friday morning and it was not busy at all.