Deer Grove’s rolling upland forest is interspersed with wooded ravines and wetlands. Picturesque creeks meander through this tract, draining upland woods dominated by oak and hickory. Miles of trails make it easy for outdoor enthusiasts to access the preserve’s diverse habitats. Runners, cross-country skiers and cyclists can cruise the four miles of paved trail, while ten miles of unpaved trails appeal to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. The vast, looping trail system creates ample space for extended runs or hikes and is heavily used year round.
Deer Grove West is primarily wooded, while Deer Grove East is more open, with recently restored wetlands and prairie, including 23 wetlands restored by disabling drain tiles that drained former farm fields at the isite.
Because of its hills and turns, Deer Grove has become popular with cyclists. The Deer Grove Trail links with the Palatine Trail at Quentin and Dundee Roads, offering bicycling opportunities beyond the preserve boundaries. Cyclists can access the trail at both Deer Grove West and Deer Grove East parking lots. Unfortunately, the ravine areas of Deer Grove have been severely damaged by illicit off-trail use, primarily by mountain bikers. To preserve natural vegetation and stop soil erosion, bicyclists and equestrians are asked to use only marked, designated trails. Use of unauthorized trails for these purposes is subject to ticketing and a fine.