Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie

  • 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


Before the industrial age, Powderhorn Lake was part of a continuous stretch of tallgrass prairie, sedge meadow, savanna and wetland in the Calumet region. In 2007, 130 of the preserve’s 192 acres were designated as the Powderhorn Prairie and Marsh Nature Preserve—the only state-dedicated nature preserve within Chicago city limits—to protect the dune-and-swale landscape that makes it so unique. Powderhorn is home to about 250 plant species, 2,500 insects and 40 to 100 bird species, depending on the season. Black oak, white oak, pin oak and sassafras as well as woody plants such as hazelnut, elderberry and buttonbush accompany lower-growing plants such as prickly pear cactus, nodding wild onion, Indian hemp, partridge pea, purple love grass, cinnamon willow-herb, rough blazingstar, Turk’s cap lily, slender false foxglove and many more.

Powderhorn Marsh and Prairie Nature Preserve (130 acres of Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve) is the first dedicated state nature preserve in the City of Chicago.

Use the boat ramp to load your boat for a quiet day on the lake.

The southwest shoreline of Powderhorn Lake has open, mowed areas where families can set up a picnic and enjoy the afternoon fishing from shore (license required).

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