Heritage Quarries Recreation Area

ABOUT THE HERITAGE QUARRIES RECREATION AREA

Lemont owes its existence to the Illinois and Michigan Canal (I&M). Digging of the canal began in 1836 and finished in 1848, and represented a revolution in the transportation of goods and people and set Chicago on its path to become a great American city.

Today, visitors can enjoy a day at the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area (HQRA). Whether you're walking, running, biking or boating, the paths along the I&M canal and quarries is your location for relaxation. The area is open from dusk until dawn, seven days a week. There is no swimming, no hunting, no alcohol and no open fires allowed. Only paddle, oar or electronic tolling motor boats are allowed.

Located just half a mile east of downtown Lemont, the entrance is at the end of Pruxne Street, which can be accessed from Talcott Avenue or Main Street. The Main Street entrance is right across from Turnabout Pizza, over the railroad tracks, then turn right. Following the road, you will cross another set of tracks, and just past the tracks, the first entrance is to the east. This area has plenty of parking and the welcoming pavilion is located at the end of the parking lot. The walking trail is also accessible from there. 

A second entrance is located just past the first on the east side as well. From here, you can drive your vehicle through to the picnic grove area, and the Great Lakes Quarries. There are many parking spots along the way where you will see fisherman, kayakers and boaters enjoying the tranquility of the quarries.

The entrance to the west end of the quarries is accessible off of Stephen Street in downtown Lemont, just northeast of the I&M Canal bridge. Parking is available in the lot and the trail is along the canal. No unauthorized vehicles are allowed on this path. 

Nature is at its best in the quarries which attracts grebes, coots, herons, swallows and ducks. Even bald eagles have been spotted in the area. 

HERITAGE QUARRIES RECREATION BROCHURE

Enjoy the breathtaking Heritage Quarries Recreation Area all year-long - HQRA Brochure Link.

DEDICATED COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS

The quarry area has long been the quest of many in our community to bring it to a state of usability with walking/running trails, fishing, and picnicking. The previous Heritage Quarry Ad-Hoc Commission headed by retired Trustee Jeanette Virgilio worked diligently for many, many years on restoring the area. Without their passion and drive, this area would not be what it is today.

A formal, appointed Village Commission was since formed in 2017, named the Heritage Corridor and Outdoor Recreation Commission (HCOR) with Trustee Dave Maher as the liaison. The HCOR commission meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Village Hall Board Room. Meeting Minutes and Agendas can be found in the Transparency tab - Minutes and Agendas.

In addition, we recognize the extra efforts of the Village of Lemont Public Works Department employees who work diligently to keep the area clear and clean with ongoing maintenance. 

CARING FOR OUR COMMUNITY

Since 2014, through the CITGO Caring for Our Coast initiative, CITGO Lemont Refinery has dedicated their efforts to the HQRA Restoration Project to restore plant and animal diversity to the quarry area. 

Through this grant and in working with The Conservation Foundation, Lemont High School, Village of Lemont and many community volunteers, a total of ten acres has been restored by the removal of invasive species and planting of species of seeds, plugs and trees. This, along with the ongoing maintenance of these cleared acres, has improved the ecological conservation of the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area.

We are most thankful to the CITGO Lemont Refinery employees for unselfishly contributing their time and talents to the health and welfare of their communities, with countless employee volunteer hours and assistance to the Village of Lemont and our surrounding communities.

HISTORY OF THE QUARRIES RUNS DEEP

Another group of passionate volunteers are members of the Lemont Historical Society who have been giving tours of the quarry area to school groups and others that request them for years. They recently began providing regularly scheduled historic tours of the quarry area and historic downtown area. Their passion for the entire Village goes way back, and their stories of yesteryears are numerous. We thank them for their dedication to our history; for without them, it would be lost. Link to the Lemont Historic Society.

GET INVOLVED

Whether you're a business or a volunteer, you too can participate in the ongoing efforts to restore the quarry area to its natural wonder. For event information, please sign up to our Stay Informed electronic notification system to receive notification of upcoming events. For businesses that want to be involved, please email lmoitor@lemont.il.us