Blackberry Maples offers hiking, bird watching and wildlife observation in a variety of habitats. From the preserve’s entrance, there is a vista of a gently sloping prairie that transitions to a mature maple forest. There are pockets of high quality fens and sedge meadows in the clearings. Great Blue Herons have established a rookery here, with nests high in the treetops. On the forest floor, wildflowers abound in the spring and summer. The open prairie is in full bloom from July through September.
This outstanding natural area is part of the Blackberry Creek watershed. This ecological complex as a whole encompasses Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve, Hannaford and Bliss Woods. Together, these preserves provide critical habitat for a diversity of wildlife.
This 153-acre preserve is comprised of two acquisitions: 87 acres were purchased in 1991, and 66 acres were added in 2004. The preserve has been improved with a parking area, shelter, restroom, well, kiosk and mowed walking path.
This preserve includes a horseback riding area. Most horse trails are natural surface, mowed grass paths. Limestone screenings trails and asphalt bike trails are available in some of the preserves. These are multi-use trails shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers etc. Horse riders are required to stay on designated, forest preserve-maintained trails. Trail riding is not allowed in restricted natural areas, Illinois Nature Preserves, picnic areas or in farmed areas. To prevent trail damage during wet weather, trails may be temporarily closed. Individual forest preserves will post a sign at the entrance when horse trails are closed. Trails are currently OPEN for equestrian use at this preserve.