Swallow Cliff Woods Forest Preserve

This forest preserve located in Palos Park, Illinois is famous for its 125 limestone stairs which lead from a parking area to the top of a bluff which is a rarity in predominantly flat northeastern Illinois. There are beautiful wooded trails through the glacial moraine at the top of the bluff.



The vehicle entrance off Calumet Sag Road (Route 83), just west of LaGrange Road/96th Avenue in Palos Park, Illinois, is for the stairs and bluff. An additional vehicle entrance is on 119th Street just west of LaGrange Road/96th Avenue. A detailed map may be found here.

Distance from Downtown Chicago

23 miles from the center of town

How To Get There

Bike, Walk, Drive, Metra Rail


There are accessible parking spaces and restrooms but the cliff stairs are not accessible.

Things To Do

Biking, Birdwatching (eastern wood-pewees, great crested flycatchers, red-eyed vireos, summer tanagers, woodpeckers), Cross-Country Skiing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Jogging, Other Features (Café; Indoor Pavilion Rental), Picnicking, Running, Sledding and Wildflowers.

Fun Facts

The Swallow Cliff Stairs were a depression era project of the Civilian Conservations Corps. The bluff was formed approximately 12,000 years ago from glacial meltwater.

Other Information

Restrooms and water fountains are available.


For a belt busting takeout breakfast try Dahlia’s Pancake House located at 10719 South Roberts Road, Palos Hills, Illinois. The delicious frittata is as big as your head and can easily feed two people.

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Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting

Cal-Sag Trail which is described on this website

Best Time To Visit

All year

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