This will not be our typical hike. We will hike as a group 2 1/2 miles of the North Branch Trail System from the Skokie Lagoons into the Botanic Gardens, walk the gardens for about 2 hours and then meetup again and hike the 2 1/2 miles back to the lagoons. Assuming a couple of miles of walking within the gardens the hike should be about 7 miles.
This is a great opportunity to see a unique part of the Chicago area conservation effort. The trail will be a combination of pavement and crushed limestone.
The Forest Preserve limits our group size to 25; So that is our Meetup group limit.
Here is our schedule:
10AM - Meet at Boat Launch.
10:15AM - Begin Walk going along the West side of the North Branch Trail.
11:15AM - Arrive at Botanical Gardens
(from 11:15am-1:45pm You can browse around the gardens on your own or with others from the meetup group).
1:45PM - Meet back at the Gardens main entrance with Group.
2PM - Leave Botanical Gardens and Finish the walk going along the East side of the North Branch Trail.
3PM - Arrive back at Boat Launch.
Admission to the Botanic Garden is free. The garden does charge for parking but since we will be walking in, there will be no cost to us. While it is completely optional, you might consider bringing a small ($2 or so) donation to drop in their glass donation box. Completely, completely optional.
While you are in the Gardens, you may buy yourself lunch at the beautiful gardens cafe, or you can bring lunch or snacks with you and eat on the benches or picnic tables. Or if you are really engrossed with things.... you can look now and eat later :-)
Tower Road Boat Launch Parking Lot
Tower Road and I-94
Directions: From Chicago, take the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) until I-94 splits off to form the Edens Expressway. Exit at Willow and head east. Take a left (North) on Forest Way to Tower Road. Take a left on Tower Road and look for the boat launch parking lot on the left.
More information on the North Branch Trail System:
Chicago Botanic Garden Web Page click here. (http://www.chicagobotanic.org/)
Cook County North Branch Trail System Map click here. (http://fpdcc.com/downloads/maps/pdf/nbn_trailmap.pdf)
Chicago Botanic Garden Map click here. (http://www.chicagobotanic.org/downloads/maps/garden_map.pdf)
I hope you can make the hike; for those who have never been to the garden, or those who have not been in a while, this will be a treat,