Our Stories

Terri's Tuesday Trails: Lake of the Woods

October 8, 2019

It's week three of my Tuesday Trails, and I was thrilled to head to Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. Thanks to our Facebook follower, Luanne, for the recommendation!

Lake of the Woods is one of five forest preserves in Champaign County, beautifully managed by the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. Its home to several activities and scenic spots including the Museum of the Grand Prairie, the Lake of the Woods Golf Course (with foot golf!), a covered bridge, a suspension bridge and the stunning Mabery Gelvin Botanical Gardens. This morning, it was a cool 45 degrees which was PERFECT for a run through this park. At last, fall seems to be here to stay.

I had a running partner this morning—my oldest friend, Karin, who helped me avoid running back in our high school days. We are both Chicago-suburb transplants who stayed in the area after graduating from the University of Illinois, and outside of eating out and enjoying a glass of wine, you'll now find us running together...something our old classmates would be shocked to learn. She and I took our time this morning, so no judging on my time! There were so many great stops for pictures. Here's what I captured:

The entrance into the Mabery Gelvin botanical gardens is as beautiful as can be. The best spot to start this morning's run.

The bridge was recently restored and its vivid red is the first thing you see in the garden. Absolutely beautiful and perfect for all those fall family photos! The waterfall was also recently restored and offset with the purple flowers (sorry, I don't know what they are), it was a perfect photo stop.
Headed east out of the gardens to make our way to the Covered Bridge, another scenic view in the park. I have never been on this trail and didn't know that there was a mini-bridge similar to the gardens! A delightful surprise this morning. Running up the hill, I could see the steam in the air and new the lake was close. But the view at the top was just incredible. 
The ethereal effect of the steam and the sun shining down was enough to keep me motivated this morning. Came upon the suspension bridge over the lake. Decided not to run over it, but grabbed a quick pic! We came upon a deer and her fawn. I didn't want to startle them so snapped a pic from quite a distance.
If you're looking for a place to view the fall foliage, this is the spot. Climb to the top of the HI-Tower for a view from the top over the entire park. We looped back around to the bridge, with a view from the other side. Loved how the sun reflected off the side. Fall was definitely in the air. We took our time on this one so we could enjoy the scenery. All the way around the park is just over 3 miles, and we took some short cuts, but I'll definitely be back.


I highly recommend a trip out to Lake of the Woods this fall, or any time of the year! You'll often find nature walks, live music, and education at the Museum. There were plenty of walkers and runners this morning, but it's also great for a bike ride! Looking forward to next Tuesday. Don't forget to comment on our Facebook page on where I should run!

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience on our website, although the cookies we use do not contain personally identifiable information. By continuing on this website or by clicking “ I Accept Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device. You can learn more about our privacy policy, how we use cookies, or how to disable cookies by clicking on the " Learn More " link at the end of this statement. Learn More.

I Accept Cookies