Hawthorne Hill Nature Center

Nature Center Open Hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-3pm

The Nature Center is open for all ages. Our open hours at the Nature Center are for visitors to enjoy the hands-on learning centers, displays and meeting room. Per the CDC guidelines, masks are required within the Nature Center for all individuals. 

Program registration is taken online. See our Program Guide for more details. Our walking trails and nature play area are open dawn till dusk.

Download a Trail Map

About the Nature Center

Hawthorne Hill Nature Center is the perfect place to enjoy and learn about the natural landscapes that surround our region. The nature center provides year round opportunities for experiencing nature. Explore the trails to witness the rich fall colors, snow-frosted trees, spring wildflowers, summer amphibians, and an ever changing host of birds. Hawthorne Hill is an excellent place to relax, recreate and explore the natural world providing two ponds, nature play area, about 2 miles of looped trails, and an interactive nature center. The 67 acre natural area that flanks both sides of Brookside Drive has a wheelchair accessible trail that leads to the pond and sedge meadow, as well as wide, wood-chipped trails to access other areas. Please bring your family and friends out to craft your own nature experience or enjoy family-friendly programs offered by Hawthorne Hill Nature Center.

For more information about Hawthorne Hill Nature Center, call 847-531-7055, or email facility supervisor Jan Monell at monell_j@cityofelgin.org.

To speak with Naturalist, call 847-531-7055 or email Corey Zak at zak_c@cityofelgin.org.


The mission of Hawthorne Hill Nature Center is to educate people about nature, themselves, and others through hands-on nature studies, experiential programs and outdoor recreational opportunities, thus cultivating understanding, appreciation and connectedness with the natural world, its inhabitants and humanity as a whole.


The nature center and its property contains exhibits and activities to promote play, encourage discovery, and ultimately lead people to appreciate the diversity in humanity and ecology, therefore protecting the natural world through stewardship and responsible choices.


In 1938, the Cosmopolitan Club of Elgin donated the 22 acres east of Brookside Drive to the Elgin Girl Scout Council. Camp Hawthorne Hills served Girl Scouts for the next 34 years with facilities for weekend overnights and summer day camps. In 1975, on the west side of the road, two ponds were excavated to provide soil for a neighboring housing development. In 1977, The City of Elgin purchased the camp, along with the 45 acres west of Brookside Drive to preserve as a natural area for future generations. In 2005, Hawthorne Hill Nature Center was opened to the public, encompassing a total of 67 acres.

Hawthorne Hill Nature Center Logo.jpg
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center Trail.jpg

Location: 28 Brookside Drive, Elgin, IL 60123

Fall 2023 cover

Tobacco Ordinance

Photos taken by Bill Bailey

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