Montefiori is set in midst of one of the most beautiful spots in the Chicago area, just to the west of the incredible wilderness of the Palos Preserves.

Part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Palos is the district’s single largest piece of land. At over 14,000 acres, and with 78 miles of trails at your feet, Palos and the contiguous Sag Valley System offer a seemingly endless array of activities for those looking to get out of the house and into nature.

For adventure-seekers, serious hiking and the region’s best mountain biking await. Hikers are invited to explore off-trail, or even take up a volunteer work day with the Palos Restoration Project – they’ll provide the gear, a lesson in forest preserve upkeep, and give you the lay of the land.

Casual nature-lovers are welcome, too. Known as one of the quietest spots in Cook County, the preserves offer a true sense of calm and connection to the Earth. Gorgeous vistas are in no short supply – woodlands, prairies, ravines, ponds, and lakes provide the backdrop for hours of bird watching, fishing, and site seeing. Movie-lovers will want to visit the overlook at Maple Lake to get a glimpse at the picturesque and romantic setting of the 2006 film The Lake House.

Visitors can choose from several different access points to the Palos Preserves. A great place to start is the FPDCC’s website, where you can download a color coded trail map of the entire system. Check it out at FPDCC