A fun winter hike at River Trail Nature Center. Find animals, trails, and prime viewing of River Trails Nature Center.

The weather wasn’t below zero and the snowstorm had passed – time to hit the trails! On our list – River Trail Nature Center. We were intrigued that they had a gnome hunt (you know we love our gnome hunts) so we wanted to check it out. Although, we didn’t end up finding all of them, we still had a wonderful time traipsing through the fresh snow and seeing some of the animals. What a beautiful place to hike!

SEE ANIMALS

See a rescued eagle

Across from the nature center, find a few animal enclosures. The kids were pretty happy to see an eagle, coyote, and owls. Unfortunately, the indoors were closed.

Get hiking

A fun winter hike at River Trail Nature Center. Find animals, trails, and prime viewing of River Trails Nature Center.

River Trail Nature Center has three trails, but since the in-laws were with us we wanted to stick to shorter trails. After seeing the animals, we continued on the Little Fort Trail (.5 miles) then crossed the road. From then on we veered left on trail and found that we were the first ones on this trail since the snowstorm a few days again. We love making fresh tracks! On our right we found a fenced in area and saw that it was a deer enclosure.We passed bridges, tried guessing animal tracks in the snow, and then made a left back towards the nature center.

 

View the frozen Des Plaines River

This happened to be one of my favorite areas – viewing the frozen Des Plaines River. On our way back to the parking lot, I spotted a woodpecker going about its business.

A fun winter hike at River Trail Nature Center. Find animals, trails, and prime viewing of River Trails Nature Center.

Find gnomes

River Trail Nature Center has a gnome hunt. We were able to find one, but that was on our way out. I believe most of the gnomes were probably buried under snow.

Other things to do

  • Go snowshowing. Just like the Crabtree Nature Center and these other places, they offer free snowshoeing. We arrived later in the day so we decided to hold off on doing this.
  • Nature play area. I heard they had a nature play area but totally missed it. We’ll have to come back and check it out.

NITTY GRITTY:

Website: https://fpdcc.com/places/locations/river-trail-nature-center/
Location: 3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, IL 60062
Cost: Free
Parking:  Limited parking but still plenty of room
Crowded:  We basically had the whole preserve to ourselves on a Wednesday afternoon.