"One of the most photographed natural spaces in Illinois, Messenger Woods is known for its wildflowers. One of the only surviving old-growth forests in Chicagoland, this fertile wilderness has never been harmed by farming or real estate developers. And so every spring, a kaleidoscopic carpet of trilliums, bluebells, and hepaticas bursts forth from the ground, creating one of the most photographed landscapes in Illinois. The atmosphere here is mystical, more like a forbidden fairy-tale glen than a suburban forest preserve. This short, easy hike through two interconnected loops ensures you plenty of time to stop and smell the ephemerals. And even if you can’t visit between March and May, Messenger Woods is still considered one of the richest oak-hickory woodlands in the state, year-round, on par with the virginal Ryerson Woods. If that’s not enough intrigue, locals also insist these woods are haunted."