Lace up those hiking boots, and pack your camera lens! Just a few minutes southeast of downtown Morris lies a 2,500-acre sea of tall grasses, lakes and walking paths known as Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area, one of the largest restored prairies in Illinois.
Fragrant wildflowers abound along the Prairie View-trail that winds through blowing tallgrass, glassy ponds and humming marshes. Stop to snap a picture or two on the Sagashka Trail, where a photo blind waits to help you get that perfect shot! Just across the pond from the historic Gragg Cabin, the visitor’s center serves as an inviting and informative place to learn more about this iconic reminder of the landscape inhabited by Native American tribes hundreds of years ago.
Cross-country skiing, hiking, hunting and fishing are just some of the reasons to visit Goose Lake Prairie, which is open sunrise to sunset daily. The welcome center is open 10-4 most weekdays, but is minimally staffed, so please feel free to call ahead to let them know you’re coming if you want to make sure they’re open. Parking is located in a paved parking lot adjacent to the welcome center.
Heidecke Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area located inside Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area is a great place to fish, relax and enjoy the day, as is the Morris Wetlands State Fish & Wildlife Area, located just south of the Illinois River.
Also along the Illinois River, 11 miles west of Goose Lake Prairie, is the bustling canal town of Morris. Its busy downtown main street is lined with shops like Whimsy, Vintage and Ruby Begonia’s. Letty Mae’s Tea Shop, Lesa’s Liberty Street Café, and many more cafes and restaurants dot the downtown area. Canal Port Plaza sits next to the I&M Canal State Trail, just south of downtown. Featuring several Cor-Ten Steel silhouettes and historical markers, as well as a canal boat play structure for little boat captains!