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Bluff Spring FenElgin, Illinois

Bluff Spring Fen

Elgin, Illinois

  • Author: Mike MacDonald
  • Date Posted: Jun 1, 2016
  • Category:

Get Directions to Bluff Spring Fen
(See essential “Access & Parking” information below.)

Hidden behind a quiet cemetery, this peaceful place is wild and brimming with life: ever-changing worlds of savanna, prairie, and fen that bring enjoyment throughout the seasons.

In July, blazing star blooms at the seep of the fen at Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois.

In July, blazing star blooms at the seep of the fen at Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois.


  • Special wetland, known as a fen
  • Oak savanna
  • Prairie
  • Kames pop up throughout the preserve, covered by savanna and prairie
  • Lots of butterflies and birds
  • Mysterious morning fog


  • June: Pale purple coneflowers
  • July: Purple prairie clover
  • August: Sweet Joe-Pye weed in the savanna

Best Times to Visit:

  • Summer: prairie wildflowers bloom throughout the season in the prairie and savanna
  • Fall: Oaks turn to auburn in the savanna, however the prairie plants are even more colorful
  • Winter: After a sticky snowfall, the oak savanna is a magical experience

Trails: Soil / Narrow with some skinny boardwalks / Not suitable for people with poor balance or eyesight

Access & Parking: The trailhead begins at the back of Bluff City Cemetery, which is open seven days a week. But the cemetery’s has special hours that depend on the month. From April 1 through October 31 the drive-through gate is open 7:00 am to 7:30 pm. Between Nov. 1 through Mar. 31, the gate is open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. However, you can always park outside the cemetery, and walk through the pedestrian gate located to the right of the main drive-through gate. You’d then follow the road for about a quarter mile to preserve.

Restrooms: When the cemetery is open (see hours under “Access & Parking” above), you can use their bathroom in the building by the main entrance.

Mike’s Thoughts: Bluff Spring Fen is a special getaway. At the moment you enter from the cemetery, majestic bur oaks of the savanna embrace you under their welcoming canopy and take you under its spell. Get there early and you’ll experience dense fog that disperses soon after sunrise. Or are they friendly spirits returning to their graves?

Notes: The preserve entrance and parking lot is located at the back of the beautiful Bluff City Cemetery. After entering the cemetery, follow the low wooden signs with the green oak tree.

Learn more about Bluff Spring Fen from these websites:

Learn how you can volunteer!



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