Cook County - Cook County Forest Preserves

Cap Sauers Holding Forest Preserve

Cap Sauers Holding is one of the larger wooded areas in the Palos Hills forest preserves of southwest Cook County.  It is bordered by State Route 83 to the north, 104th Ave. in the east, McCarthy and Ford Roads to the south and private land to the west.  It is primarily a hardwood forest, sometimes savannah forest in character (open) and has areas of more open scrub.  It is crossed by several trails including the Green Trail that runs more or less east-west along its south border along Ford Road, where it is easily accessed.

The Green Trail gives access to two other trails: the Blue Trail that runs almost directly north from Ford Rd. to Route 83, and the Yellow Trail that makes a loop on the east side of the preserve and connects with Swallow Cliff FP on the south and Teasons Woods on the north (across 104th Ave.).  I usually park along Ford Road to access the trails but you can also park at Teasons Woods or Horsetail Lake FP near where the Yellow Trail crosses to Swallow Cliff.  Right along Ford Road listen for Summer Tanagers that have been found here the last few years.  Near where Ford Road makes a curve to the southeast (west of the caretaker’s house and Bergman Slough) the Green Trail is close to the road.  Go right on the trail.  You will first come to the Blue Trail.  Along this trail you can get Blue-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, Yellow Throated Vireo and Scarlet Tanager.  If you continue on the Green Trail the trail curves south bringing you close to the road across from Bergman Slough.  Red-headed Woodpeckers and a Yellow-throated Vireo have nested in this area for many years.

The Green Trail then heads northeast towards the Yellow Trail.  Eastern Towhee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager and Blue-winged Warblers can be found along this stretch and occasionally a Hooded Warbler or two.  A stretch of scrub just before the Yellow Trail can have White-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Blue-winged Warbler and Veery.  The Green Trail meets the Yellow Trail in the apex of its loop.  A small creek cuts across this loop and there are bridges over the creek a short distance from the trail intersection both to the left and right.  The area between these bridges has held Hooded and Kentucky Warblers and a Louisiana Waterthrush has been found near the two bridges for several years.  Taking the Yellow Trail north (left) takes you through more Hooded Warbler territory and those of other forest birds.  Going right (south and east) towards Swallow Cliff is good for more Hooded Warblers, Veery, Wood Thrush and Scarlet Tanagers.

Cap Sauers is one of the better areas in Cook County for Saw-whet, Eastern Screech, Great Horned and Barred Owls.  Pileated Woodpeckers have been observed or heard on the west (Green Trail) and north sides.  For Eastern Whip-poor-will, park on Ford Road after dark in Spring and early summer and walk east/right along the trail for ~100-200 yards and listen.

View Illinois Birding Map in a larger map

Forest Preserve Map, Region 7