Comprising the western third of the 15,000-acre Palos Preserves, Pulaski Woods offers some of the most rugged terrain the Forest Preserves have to offer, attracting runners and mountain bikers looking for a workout and challenging trails. The expansive network of lakes, trails and scenic vistas can be enjoyed at any pace, however, and those who take it slow have a better chance of seeing the wildlife unique to a preserve of this size.
The well-marked trails are all connected and cover a lot of ground. The orange trail, for example, is a roughly six-mile loop that takes travelers past the end of Wolf Road, south almost to 107th Street, west to Archer Avenue and back close to the main Pulaski Woods entrance. The orange trail intersects with yellow, blue, red, brown and black trails at various points. The maze of trails provides a number of length and difficulty options for trail users, along with the opportunity to visit several sloughs (shallow lakes).
Pulaski Woods is popular among mountain bikers for its interesting and often exhilarating hills and turns. The official staging area for mountain biking is at Pulaski Woods South, though Wolf Road Woods links to a number of trails as well. Mountain bikers must stay on designated trails to protect the plants and animals that live throughout the preserves.
At 15,000 acres, the Palos Preserves in southwest Cook County are the largest concentration of preserved land in the Forest Preserves. Thanks to more than three decades of habitat restoration, they also hold some of the highest-quality natural areas in the county. These trails join many popular sites, such as the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Pulaski Woods, Saganashkee Slough and Maple Lake which is home to a mountain bike staging area that provides access to almost 40 miles of unpaved trails.
The Palos preserves are home to an extensive mixed-use trail system, including the paved Cal-Sag Trail which cross many of these preserve to the south and the paved Centennial Trail/John Husar I&M Canal Trail system to the north. Parking at the Palos Forest Preserve is easy. Cook County Forest Preserve Hours are from sunrise to sunset.