Birding · Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Located in Spring Creek Forest Preserve, this trail is accessible from sunrise to sunset.
This short hike is the perfect introduction to Spring Creek Forest Preserve. The top of Galloping Hill offers one of the best views in Cook County, and is filled with plants and wildlife due to ecological restoration work done by volunteers. This short loop offers something new for every season of the year.
Hikers can warm up with this loop, return to a vehicle at the Penny Road Pond Parking lot, and then choose from over 45 miles of trails in Spring Creek Forest Preserve.
Need to Know
Penny Road Pond Parking area is the main parking access for this side of the preserve, and the nearest available restroom (porta-potty).
Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a trail runners paradise. All trails are mowed-grass, and in many areas there are equestrian trail users. Watch out for wet trails and uneven footing.
This half-mile trail loop starts and ends at the Penny Road Pond Parking area. From the parking lot, cross Penny Rd to begin the hike. At the immediate trail intersection across the road, turn left to follow the trail through the wooded area. This trail winds up the SW side of Galloping Hill. At the first trail intersection in the wooded area, turn right to follow the trail out of the wooded area and into the prairie at the top of Galloping Hill.
Enjoy the view, examine a wildflower, and keep an eye out for birds and butterflies!
Follow the trail as it curves left around the top of the hill, and back into the wooded area. Continue to follow the trail as it curves left and takes you back to the start of the wooded area. Turn left at the first trail intersection once you've left the wooded area to take you back to the Penny Rd Pond parking area.
Flora & Fauna
This hike will provide a dramatic introduction to the plants and animals of Illinois Tallgrass Prairie.
Walking through the woodland area, you may notice that the woods are dark, have only a few species of plants, and bare ground in many areas. This woodland is dominated by non-native, invasive plants (such as buckthorn and honeysuckle), which displace native plants and do not provide value to native wildlife.
Once you leave the woodland, you are truly entering Illinois. Galloping Hill is home to countless native wildflowers, insects, grassland birds, and more.
History & Background
Before modern settlement, the Barrington-area was a diverse, natural system of prairies, woods, and wetlands. This rich natural world is the ancestral homelands of the Council of Three Fires—the Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes—and a place of trade with many other tribes, including the Ho-Chunk, Miami, Menominee, Sauk and Meskwaki.
More recently, this hill and all of the surrounding prairie, was a combination of farm fields and weeds. The Spring Creek Stewards, a volunteer ecological restoration group, work to restore the native plants and animals of Illinois to Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Volunteers have removed species that are not originally from this area (such as the invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle), to make room for a wide variety of native wildlife - grasses, wildflowers, birds, and more.
Shared By: Friends of the Forest Preserves