The vast prairie that once covered Illinois is making a comeback of sorts at Nachusa Grasslands Preserve, 90 miles west of Chicago in Franklin Grove, Illinois. This town is also where you’ll find Lincoln Way Inn Bed & Breakfast, making it a perfect place to overnight.
Spanning 3,600 acres, Nachusa Grasslands Preserve is a natural area made up of woodlands, wetlands, and a large remnant of prairie. Unusual in its scope, the preserve is a menagerie of plants, birds, reptiles, mammals, insects, and many notable geological features.
Nachusa Grasslands Preserve is a large-scale restoration project that is being done in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy to preserve and protect the endangered ecosystem found here. And it is a wonderful place to visit. Home to more than 700 native species, the grasslands is awash in blooms from spring through fall. It’s also home to a bison herd, and offers some terrific hiking.
A good first stop when you get here is the Nachusa Grasslands Visitors Center, where exhibits explain the history of the land. Free two-hour public tours of both the Center and the Bison Unit are available on one Saturday a month from May to October, 2018. A special Prairie Festival in September is also a great time to take in guided tours, exhibits, music, art and celebration of the work being done here.
To really get the most of Nachusa Grasslands Preserve, take a hike on one of its five trails that lead you through the flowering plants and grasses. The preserve is a haven for birds, with more than 180 species, adding to the natural delights of a walk here. The area is open to hiking year-round, except during controlled burns and shotgun hunting season (check the website for specific dates).
Nachusa Grasslands Preserve
2075 Lowden Road, Franklin Grove, IL
Open dusk to dawn
Lincoln Way Inn Bed & Breakfast is just a five-minute drive from Nachusa Grasslands and almost feels like an extension of it, with beautiful landscaped grounds and elegant, modern rooms that evoke a rustic sensibility.
Lincoln Way Inn Bed & Breakfast
409 N. State Street, Franklin Grove, IL
Lincoln Way Inn Bed & Breakfast is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association … a unique lodging experience!