When Lizzie and I were researching new places to hike we stumbled upon Volo Bog State Natural Area. It is an Illinois Nature Preserve and a National Natural Landmark. Volo Bog is the only quaking bog in the state of Illinois. Not being geology majors, we had to Google what a quaking bog is – a bog that shakes when walked upon because it formed over mud. We were intrigued so we decided to check it out.
Volo Bog State Natural Area is about an hour and a half North of Chicago. We visited in early 2015 when the visitor center was still operating on their winter hour schedule so they were closed when we were there (Sunday). I was bummed because it is housed in a dairy barn built in the 1900s and I would’ve liked to have seen the inside of it. There is a picnic area and an additional bathroom located near the parking lot. Dogs are allowed on a leash, but not on the Interpretive Trail.
We hiked the short half mile, Volo Bog Interpretive Trail to see the stages of bog growth. According to the website, the visitor center has brochures that explain what you are seeing along the trail. We still enjoyed looking at the different features of the bog sans brochure. The Interpretive Trail uses boardwalks to protect the bog.
We also hiked the Tamarack View Trail, which is 2.75 miles long. The trail is mostly exposed, which gives you great views in the winter, but allows the wind to really have a bite to it. There’s a short out-and-back side trail that leads to the Observation Tower, but we were so tired from fighting the wind that we couldn’t bring ourselves to climb the hill to the tower. The Tamarack View Trail also runs by an Observation Blind. It was the first time Lizzie or I had been in a blind before – it was neat. We saw a bunch of ducks.
We had a lot of fun exploring the quaking bog!
Moraine Hills State Park is near Volo Bog and also worth a visit. Learn more about the state park here.