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MARY LOIS HUGHES,  ABR Broker

PHONE: (217) 726-3125
E-Mail: Mary Lois Hughes
Website: www.marylois.com

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Experience the beauty and natural diversity of Grand Oaks from its miles of foot trails. You can meander through stately oak-hickory forests, over rustic bridges crossing fern-lined creeks, and along dramatic bluff prairies. You may see or hear owls, hawks and song birds as you share the trails with white-tail deer. deer.jpg (12202 bytes)

 

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The Grand Oaks' 3.5-mile trail system is for the enjoyment of lot owners and their invited guests.

 

Enjoy one of these self-guided hikes!

Short Woodland Hike
(West Ravine)
(1800 ft. - 1/3 mile)
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360 Virtual Tour
Begin at the south end of Old Oaks Trail at North Meadow Lane. Follow the path down along the spring-fed West Ravine. Pass by huge, old oak trees that have fallen onto the forest floor where they are gracefully decomposing. Rich with moss and lichens and home to wildlife including ground squirrels and woodpeckers, the area seems primal.
You might enjoy walking out onto Fern Bridge to hear the babble of the stream and observe the ferns cascading down it steep banks.
Continue down Old Oaks Trail to the wooden walkway through a diverse plant community that includes the rare albino buckeye (Aescelus glabra lucadermis). A gradual ascent back up to North Meadow Lane near the point of starting completes this charming hike.
Medium Woodland and Bluff Prairie Hike
(East Ravine & Bluff)
(3100 ft. - 2/3 mile)
A bit longer, this jaunt starts near Grand Oaks Park at the south end of Twin Bridges Trail. Enter the oak-hickory woodland and cross the Upper Bridge.

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360 Virtual Tour

Follow the trail to the right and proceed down the East Ravine next to the old, knarley hedge apple trees. This forest is regenerating and contains successional woody species including sumac, honey locust and sassafras trees.
Stately oaks on the opposite side of the ravine shade hillsides covered with ferns and woodland flowers. You may find deer in this area.
Cross the walkway, continue to the right and cross the Lower Bridge. Listen for the little waterfall over the shale outcropping. Proceed up the trail through the oaks to Grandview Drive and the "grand view" of the Sangamon River Valley.
Follow the Bluff Prairie Trail, through the tall grasses and prairie flowers, south to the lamp post on the corner of Grandview Drive. Here you may find showy, native butterflies and moths hovering near a rare species of thistle and other prairie forbs.
Follow Grandview Drive back by the old Shagbark Hickory, noticing its namesake bark, to the point of beginning.
The Lost Lake Hike
(South Ravine)
(5300 ft. - 1 mile)
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360 Virtual Tour
Again start at Grand Oaks Park. Proceed south through the woodlands on Hidden Valley Trail. Gradually descend through this picturesque valley and cross the bridge. Turn right at the toe of the bluff prairie and proceed to the "grand-daddy oak."

You may wish to rest under the low hanging branches of this mighty oak to enjoy its shade and to watch the bird and butterfly activity over the adjacent prairie.

Follow the trail into the woods and you will soon discover an old earthen dam and its brick overflow structure. The flat area west of the dam is the result of years of sedimentation in the old lake bottom. The area is appropriately named Lost Lake. In the middle of this area is Long Bridge which begins a trail leading south up to Oak Grove Drive.
Continue west along the creek to Cobble Point Bridge where you have a choice. Turn right and return to the park area on Cottonwood Trail, a distance of 1000 feet. Or continue across the bridge and along the west ravine where the trail passes through one of the most spectacular oak groves in Central Illinois.
Emerge from the woods at Timber Ridge Lane. You will be greeted by a large restored prairie and trail back to the main road and park.