VISIT & explore

Top 5 Thanksgiving hikes at The Morton Arboretum

Thanksgiving hikes at The Morton Arboretum
Start a tradition at The Morton Arboretum with a Thanksgiving hike.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28, take advantage of free admission to The Morton Arboretum from 7 a.m. to sunset. Get out and explore our 16 miles of paved or wood-chipped trails.

Here are our top five suggestions for hikes for Thanksgiving Day:

  • Big Rock is a 25-minute hike from Big Rock Visitor Station if you take the shorter Woodland Trail (.6 miles), and a 40-minute hike if you take the longer Heritage Trail (1.3 miles). Both trails lead you through oak and maple woodland habitat. Interpretive panels along the short paved loop at the Visitor Station help you explore the geology and native plants you will discover as you walk the longer Heritage Trail.
  • Escape to the West Side and take a walk down Joy Path. Begin near the Fragrance Garden, walk past the Flowering Trees Collection , take a peek at the DuPage River and then wind your way around to Lake Marmo. Not for the faint of heart; be sure to wear your hiking boots!
  • Meander down Thornhill Trail. Although you’ll begin your journey at Thornhill Education Center, you will quickly find yourself in a quiet woodland. See Sunfish Pond, then stay to your right and hike past the Europe Collection.
  • Visiting with young children? Check out the Tree House Tales exhibit, featuring six fun-filled, educational tree houses. Start your hike around Meadow Lake, then follow the direction signs up to the tree houses, located in the Asian Collection.
  • At 1.58 miles, East Side Main Trail Loop 2 is the longest of all the Arboretum's trails. This wood-chipped trail passes through the Appalachia Collection, the Buckeye Collection and through oak woodlands, maples, beeches, and more.

Note, all buildings and the Children's Garden will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Restrooms will be available in the west pavilion of the Visitor Center and the West Side shelter at Parking Lot 21.

Come back Friday for a visit to the Children’s Garden Gnome Hunt by day, or explore Illumination at night!