The LaBagh Woods
N Cicero & N Foster
Part of the Cook County Forest Preserve’s North Branch Trail
The LaBagh woods are a city dweller’s outdoor getaway. Located on the city’s near north/west side at Foster & Cicero, these woods offer an easy opportunity to take a hike, catch glimpses of various natural habitats including wetlands, savannas and sedge meadows and enjoy great outdoor time without planning a big getaway from the city. Known for its bird watching opportunities, these woods are part of the southern tip of Cook County’s North Branch Trail which follows the North Branch of the Chicago River. Open year round from sunset to sunrise, you’ll find people enjoying mountain biking (though relatively flat- this is still the Midwest after all), walks with their dogs (leashes required), hiking, picnicking and nature observing.
My kids and I join a local chapter of the Free Forest Schools at these woods every week. It’s an easy way to gather with like-minded parents who have similar aged kids. We all mingle, share a community snack and story and enjoy child-led forest exploration. Dress accordingly… Chicago has all the weather, all the time and these woods can often be wet, soggy, muddy… and totally fun!
There are plenty of picnic grove spots (covered to protect from wind, rain, snow and sun), parking is easy and abundant and you can make your walk as long or as short as you desire. There are port-o-potties at each grove. Given that these woods are in the city, it’s easy to make a trip here only a couple of hours of your day. Some great outdoor time might guarantee a nice afternoon nap for tots and babies who partake in the wooded adventure.