Prior to settlement, Salt Creek Woods Nature Preserve was composed primarily of upland oak-dominated woodland, floodplain woods along Salt Creek, and some prairie. Although nearly all of the prairie that formerly occurred on this site has been lost, important elements of the prairie survive at Wolf Road Prairie Nature Preserve, located nearby at the northwest corner of the intersection of 31st Street and Wolf Road. The woodlands that remain at Salt Creek Woods are distributed along a moisture gradient from dryer sites along the upper slopes of the gently rolling Tinley ground moraine to more moist sites located along Salt Creek. Along the dryer slopes, bur and white oak, and hickory predominate. In the alluvial deposits along Salt Creek and near the small glacial ponds that dot the preserve, elm, cottonwood, and silver maple commonly occur.
The Salt Creek Greenway Trail is made up of a series of paved trails winding through dedicated nature preserves, forest preserves, and local parks — all of which make for a pleasant stroll or a full day’s hike. As a migratory corridor for wildlife, the Salt Creek Greenway affords excellent opportunities for birding and wildlife viewing at places like Salt Creek Woods Nature Preserve and Bemis Woods. The trail system extends west from Bemis Woods into DuPage County, passing through forest preserves and parks as you continue north.
A 7.1-mile paved trail starts in Bemis Woods and continues east to Brookfield Woods, directly across from the Brookfield Zoo. At Bemis Woods, 26th Street Woods, and Plank Road Meadow, you can access the Salt Creek Water Trail, open for canoeing and kayaking. A series of unpaved nature trails wind through preserves along the paved Salt Creek Greenway Trail, allowing visitors to explore habitats on foot.