Ice fishing is allowed at many forest preserves in DuPage County. | Submitted
Updated: January 21, 2014 2:23PM
Looking for excuses to get outside this winter? The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has many reasons to brave the cold for a little fun. Activities such as snow tubing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing await those who welcome the freezing conditions.
The tubing hill at Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville offers rides down an 800-foot run and a chance to explore surrounding trails by snowshoe.
When 3 or more inches of snow cover the hill, the facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends through February, and the following school holidays: winter break, through Jan. 3; Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 20; and Presidents Day, Feb. 17.
Only forest preserve district inner tubes are permitted on Mount Hoy and are $5 a tube per day. Snowshoes cost $5 for two hours or $10 a day. Tube rentals end at 3:30 p.m., and snowshoe rentals end at 2 p.m. To hear 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.
Ice fishing, skating
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.
District regulations permit two ice-fishing holes at one time, no more than 10 inches in diameter. Because of 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 on the district’s website at dupageforest.org/calendar.aspx and in The Conservationist, the district’s quarterly publication. Print subscriptions are free for DuPage County residents and $5 a year for nonresidents; email subscriptions are free for all. To subscribe, call 630-933-7085 or send an email to email@example.com.