Thanks to the Urbana Parks Foundation for sponsoring our Parent’s Guide to Busey Woods in Urbana. Great parks build great communities! UPF recently launched a $2 million fundraising campaign titled Campaign for the Next Century. The campaign seeks to build on more than a century of generosity from individuals, businesses, and civic organizations by supporting a variety of Urbana Park District parks, programs and activities. The campaign targets three specific areas of emphasis which include the Urbana Parks Endowment, Crystal Lake Park, and Youth Scholarships. These areas of support align with UPF’s mission to strengthen the local park system and enhance the health and vibrancy of the community. Gifts for other purposes or projects are also welcome. Whether you live in Urbana or a surrounding community, you can make a positive impact on Urbana’s parks by donating today.
A Bit About Busey Woods
You may be familiar with this wooded area tucked away in Urbana, but if you’ve never explored on foot, you may not know just how much Busey Woods has to offer the Champaign-Urbana community. When you’re looking to venture out on a nature hike with your children without venturing out of town, you don’t want to overlook Busey Woods.
Located at the north end of Crystal Lake Park with an entrance just west of the Anita Purves Nature Center and Friendship Grove Nature Playscape, this 59 acre forest can be your go-to option for a nature walk with kids and adults of all ages and abilities, thanks to its wide, elevated boardwalk path.
For Your Health – Why Your Family Needs to Be Spending Time Outdoors
Studies have shown it is truly necessary to spend unstructured time out in nature at all ages and stages of life and times of year. Children build confidence, think creatively, activate their senses, and reduce stress and fatigue when they regularly spend time outdoors. Furthermore, access to nature (such as accessible trails like at Busey Woods) reduces obesity and depression rates among adults.
The Urbana Parks Foundation is committed to removing as many roadblocks people may run into as possible when it comes to spending time outdoors. That’s why at Busey Woods you find a convenient middle-of-town location, handicap accessible trails and well-maintained natural areas full of native plants and regular maintenance to promote healthy growth (and safe areas to walk through).
Tips For Your Trip From Other Parents
- Feel free to bring babies in strollers or family members that utilize wheelchairs or mobility aids. These are some of the safest trails you’ll find to navigate with wheels. The trails are divided into sub-trails, as we reference in our “Walk Your Way Through Champaign-Urbana” Guide.
- Take the time to stop and read the informational signs located at scenic points along the trail. Your kids will enjoy looking for the birds in that particular area or learning about how different that area can look in the different seasons of the year.
- Not looking to spend very long outside? No problem. The elevated boardwalk path is 1/3-mile long.
- Want to take your time and venture off the beaten path, so to speak? You can do that here, too! Simply hop off the boardwalk and let your kids climb logs or comb through leaves.
- Please do not collect items, walk pets or cycle through the path on your visit.
Is this park good for toddlers?
Yes! Thanks to the elevated boardwalk, toddlers will enjoy everything they can see on foot or from their stroller. Be careful if they’re on foot though, as the boardwalk is a few feet off the ground and often does not have sides.
What amenities are offered?
- Busey Woods offers 1/3-mile elevated boardwalk walking trails and is located among 59 acres of woodland.
- You will find restrooms inside the Anita Purves Nature Center during regular operating hours (M-F 8am-5pm, Sat 9am-4pm).
- Pavilions and grills are available for rental and use at nearby Crystal Lake Park.
How are the bathrooms?
We recommend you hit the bathroom before heading out to the trail just in case you need to go while walking. Remember, the trail is short at just 1/3-mile long so if you need to finish up quickly and head into the Nature Center for a bathroom break, you’re not too far away.
Are there picnic tables and grills?
You’ll find grills over at nearby Crystal Lake Park. There are several picnic tables and spots to rest just outside the entrance to the Busey Woods walking path, and you’ll find benches along the boardwalk path to take breaks along the way.
Is there any shade?
Yes! You’ll love how shaded your walk through the woods will be.
When is Busey Woods open?
Visit anytime between dawn and dusk.
What is parking like?
You can park in the parking lot where they are ample parking spots, including handicapped parking spots. Enter from Broadway Ave. where you will see a sign for Anita Purves Nature Center and Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center.
How do you get there?