Natural Treasures

Embark on a half-day’s journey of quiet discovery surrounded by exceptional pastoral beauty and inspiring reminders of the past.

Start your tour in Chicago


Take a quick trip back to the 1880s in this distinctive, time-capsule neighborhood. Marvel at the tumultuous life and remarkable vision of George M. Pullman and his Palace Train Car company at this designated national historic park. Walking tours are offered from 11am to 3pm daily, except for Mondays.

The Visitor Center features exhibits and a video presentation about Pullman, his company and the nation’s first model planned industrial community. Listen as park rangers tell the stories of the immigrants who worked and lived in Pullman, the origins of Chicago’s labor union movement and the development of the Pullman Company.

Park at:
The Visitor Center for the Pullman National Historic Park, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave, which offers free parking. Go to the Monument’s website for hours, tours and other visitor information.

Continue your tour in Palos Heights


Nestled along a two-mile stretch of the historic Cal-Sag Channel, this serene 85-acre park includes woodlands, prairie, wetlands, gardens, an arboretum and a 10-acre man-made lake. Walk or jog the paths, tour the butterfly garden or enjoy the 30-foot waterfall. In the warmer months you can rent a canoe or kayak. In addition, the Cal-Sag Trail provides a beautiful cycling route for nature lovers. (See next stage in this itinerary.)

Visit the Nature Center and make friends with a menagerie of reptiles and animals. Learn about native wildlife, and plants from the knowledgeable staff.

Park at:
Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Gardens, 7402 W. Lake Katherine Dr.
Free parking is available on the grounds. Check out the Center’s website for hours, detailed driving directions and other visitor information.

Complete your trip in Alsip


Come explore the I&M Canal National Heritage Area’s trail. The first half of the Cal-Sag Trail connects Alsip to Lemont. When completed, the entire trail will be 26 miles long and will extend east to the Burnham Greenway near the Indiana border. The Cal-Sag Trail preserves and enhances the natural and historical treasure of the Cal-Sag Channel and Calumet River and their communities. It links existing industry and infrastructure to the storied remnants of the Big Steel era. Trail development along the Cal-Sag and Calumet River also opens the waterway to fishing, kayaking, birding, barge watching and more!

Park at:
Freedom Park, 4785 131st St. Open from dawn until dusk, Freedom Park is located just east of Cicero Avenue and is part of the Alsip Park District. Check out the Park District’s website for additional visitor information.

Alternative parking is available at Teason’s Woods, located at 104th Avenue south of Ill. Rte. 83, Palos Park.