Marl Flat Forest Preserve

  • Accessibility & Access for All
  • Arts & Culture
  • Arts and Culture
  • Beach Access
  • Bike Share Dock
  • Biking
  • Biodiversity
  • Birdwatching
  • Boat Rentals Available
  • Boating
  • Bus Parking
  • Calumet Heritage Area
  • Camping
  • Canoe or Kayak Rentals Available
  • Canoeing
  • Children's programs
  • Climbing
  • Community Science
  • Concessions
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Education
  • Education Center
  • Equipment Rentals
  • Family-Friendly
  • Field Trips
  • Fishing
  • Free Admission
  • Free Parking
  • Free Programs
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Hiking
  • Historical Connectiom
  • Historical Connection
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Kayaking
  • Native Plants
  • Nature Center
  • Parking
  • Paved Trails
  • Pet-Friendly
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Picnicking
  • Playground
  • Prairie
  • Public Transit Access
  • Restrooms
  • Running
  • Scenic View
  • Scenic Views
  • Snowshoeing
  • Swimming
  • Teacher Resources
  • Tours
  • Trail Running
  • Walking
  • Wetlands
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Show More


Marl Flat was named after a rare geological feature found at the preserve. Marl flats are distinct features of a fen, which is a type of wetland. These areas have flat soils that are high in minerals and calcium cabonates derived from alkaline groundwater.

Other natural features of the preserve include an interior pond and rolling hills that offer beautiful views. The lake and wetlands are used by a wide variety of waterfowl including black terns and yellow-headed blackbirds.

It also features woodlands dominated by bur oaks and wetlands. Proper restoration is helping to revitalize the woodlands and enhance wildlife habitat throughout the preserve.

The preserve boundary has extensive frontage on Fish Lake Road, which will help maintain the scenic quality of this country-like road.

While there are no preserve trails here, Marl Flat does provide trailhead parking for our regional Millennium Trail system. More than 26.75 miles of the Millennium Trail are currently open. The 1-mile paved section of Millennium Trail that runs through Marl Flat is open for hiking, biking, hiking and cross-country skiing. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them.

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