Troll Hunt takes place across the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres.
Start an adventure to see them all, or split your trek across multiple visits.
Travel by car, bike, or on foot—whatever works best for you. The total hiking distance to find all the trolls is six to seven miles.
When you arrive at the Arboretum, ask for a Troll Hunter’s Handbook to start your search.
Please be aware that the trail to Joe the Guardian will be blocked in the event of snow or inclement weather throughout the winter season. To learn about accessibility to Joe the Guardian, we recommend calling us at 630-968-0074 on the day of your visit.
Here are some tips to make the most of your adventure:
Please be advised that our crowds may be heavier than usual. We will have extra staff on hand to make your visit as smooth as possible, but we recommend arriving early and allowing for extra time to park.
Driving and Hiking
- A few trolls are visible from the road and others can be found via a short drive and hike.
- Look for Troll Hunt parking signs, park, and then walk to see the trolls.
- If a lot is full, please drive to the next lot.
Biking and Hiking
- Bring your own bike.
- Cyclists must use paved roads as trails are reserved for hikers.
- Please ride in the direction of car traffic and stay to your right.
- Look for Troll Hunt parking signs and hike to see the trolls.
- To see all the trolls, the total hiking distance is six to seven miles. See distance details.
- Follow the Troll Hunt trail signs and the map in your Handbook. Or to get a sense of the total expanse of the Arboretum's grounds, view these maps of the East and West Sides.
- If walking along the road, please go against car traffic and stay to your right.
- Prepare for the outdoors!
- Restrooms are located in the Visitor Center, Children’s Garden, and the Thornhill Education Center.
- Purchase food and water at the Ginkgo Restaurant and Café or refill your reusable water bottle in the Visitor Center and at the Thornhill Education Center or nearby shelter.
- Sunscreen, bug spray, and other essentials (including Troll Hunt souvenirs!) are available at The Arboretum Store.
Visit the Troll Archives located in the Sterling Morton Library, just a short walk from the Visitor Center. The library is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You'll find a one-of-a-kind book related to the trolls you are hunting. While you're there, take time to build a model hideout and discover more books about trolls and nature.