Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve is one of the five forest preserves owned and maintained by the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. It runs along the Sangamon River (which also runs through Robert Allerton Park), and includes prairie, woods, and a fairly large lake. It is also home to the Museum of the Grand Prairie, which has exhibits about the history of the region and hosts activities throughout the year, including nature hikes and children's activities. It is also home to the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, which is pretty and has a very picturesque pond with water lilies, koi, and a distinctive red bridge. There is also a golf course.

The natural areas are accessible by a paved trail that runs the length of the park and several short dirt/grass trails. The majority of these allow visitors to explore the Buffalo Trace prairie, which is named after the well-established trails used by migrating bison (they really aren't buffalo, a different species found in Asia). An informational placard explains that the buffalo trails were used by hunters, Native Americans, and settlers as well as buffalo because they provided clear routes through the prairie, and these routes eventually became modern highways, including I-74. The trails themselves are pleasant and with even footing and gently rolling countryside will be easily navigable for most people, and show a good variety of the shape prairies can take, with stands of trees and a wide variety of wildflowers and grasses. Butterflies and birds are abundant, including bluebirds, swallows, and goldfinches. There are approximately 7 miles of trails in the park, though it's worth noting that these interconnect a great deal so that it would be difficult to make more than a 3 or 4 mile loop without going in circles. Regardless, it will be a pretty walk, especially in the summer when the flowers are blooming.


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