Busse Woods is pretty huge, and there’s so much to unpack and explore within the forest preserve, which makes it quite a fun time. With so much to do there, you’ll probably want to spend a whole day there. And while Busse Woods is great year-round, know that you’ll get some excellent views of fall colors as you explore this massive forest.
If you’re intrigued, be sure to plan ahead for your day. The main trail loop is nearly eight miles roundtrip, but it is definitely doable. The trail is pretty flat, paved throughout, and shaded for about half of the trip. There are a number of places to rest along the way. Plan three to four hours, depending on your pace, and bring plenty of snacks and water. If you’re thinking of a shorter trip, consider the portions of the trail surrounding Busse Lake as it’ll provide some excellent views — not to mention a cool breeze on a warm day.
From here, you can connect to the Salt Creek Greenway Trail or start the Salt Creek Water Trail in a canoe or kayak. Busse Woods is also home to the unique Busse Forest Nature Preserve, one of the richest and most diverse natural areas in the Cook County forest preserves, and has been designated an National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
FYI: if you’re trying to figure it out, it’s pronounced “bus-see”.
Busse Woods is home to an extensive mixed-use, paved trail system. The 7.3-mile main trail winds through most of the preserve and is frequently used for hiking, biking, jogging, and shorter pleasant strolls. Be advised that others will be around you, stay alert for bikes, and share the road. Canoes, rowboats, and sailboats are allowed on the South Pool and main lake sections of Busse Lake. There are public launch ramps for access to both areas. Rentals are available by the hour or day from April through October.