As winter’s brisk winds begin to blow and temperatures drop, many people are inclined to stay indoors and wait for the season to pass. But those who brave the chill and head out to their local DuPage County forest preserves will be well rewarded with snowy fun.
The tubing hill at Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville offers thrilling rides down an 800-foot run and, new this year, a chance to explore surrounding trails by snowshoe. When there is at least 3 inches of snow on the hill, the facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends from December 2012 through February 2013 and the following school holidays: winter break, Dec. 17 – Jan. 4; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21; and Presidents Day, Feb. 18. The hill will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Only Forest Preserve District inner tubes are permitted on Mount Hoy and are $5 per tube per day. Snowshoes cost $5 for two hours or $10 per day. Tube rentals end at 3:30 p.m., and snowshoe rentals end at 2 p.m. To hear current snow conditions, call the District’s Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422.
Visitors can use their own snowshoes or cross-country skis at most DuPage preserves. When conditions permit, staff members groom trails for classical and freestyle cross-country skiing at the following forest preserves: Blackwell in Warrenville, Danada in Wheaton, Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook, Greene Valley in Naperville, Herrick Lake in Wheaton, Hidden Lake in Downers Grove, Mallard Lake in Hanover Park, Meacham Grove in Bloomingdale, Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, Waterfall Glen in Darien, and West DuPage Woods in West Chicago. All trail users are asked to take care not to damage tracks that have been set. For trail conditions information, call the Outdoor Report at 630-871-6422.
Frozen lakes provide opportunities for ice skaters and anglers. At least 4 inches of clear ice is recommended for any ice activity. Rangers do not monitor ice thickness, and all ice-related activities are done at the user’s own risk. Per District fishing regulations, each individual is permitted no more than two ice-fishing holes at one time, and holes may be no more than 10 inches in diameter. Due to fluctuating water levels, ice skating and ice fishing are always prohibited at Spring Creek Reservoir Forest Preserve in Bloomingdale.
A sled, some snow and some open space can create fun for young and old alike. Visitors can sled at their own risk at most forest preserves unless otherwise posted. Sledding is always prohibited at Mount Hoy at Blackwell, the closed landfill sites at Greene Valley and Mallard Lake forest preserves and any slopes at Spring Creek Reservoir.
The District offers many outdoor winter programs such as guided hikes, horse-drawn sleigh rides and nature workdays. View upcoming events in the online calendar at dupageforest.org and in The Conservationist, the District’s quarterly publication. Print subscriptions are free for DuPage County residents and $5 per year for nonresidents. To subscribe, call 630-933-7085 or send an email to email@example.com.
Good things happen when you explore the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s 60 forest preserves and five education facilities. For information on ways to experience conservation, education and recreation in your neck of the woods, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org.