Get ready for a flurry of winter fun at DuPage County Forest Preserves
Embrace winter with a flurry of outdoor fun in the DuPage forest preserves, which offer residents plenty of reasons to get outside and play this winter.
When there's plenty of packed snow on the hill (usually more than 3 inches), thrill-seekers can snow tube down the 800-foot run on Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve near Warrenville. Only the district's inner tubes are allowed.
If conditions allow, the hill is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends Dec. 3 to Feb. 26 (except Dec. 25). The hill will also be open Dec. 23, Dec. 27-30, Jan. 3-6, Jan. 9, Jan. 16, and Feb. 20.
Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day. The hill is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; rentals end at 3:30 p.m.
Visitors can also explore Blackwell and Fullersburg Woods forest preserves by snowshoe. When there's plenty of snow on the trails, snowshoe rentals are available at the Blackwell tubing hill (when open) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Snowshoes can also be rented at the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All rentals are $10 per day. For Fullersburg Woods, call (630) 850-8100 for snowshoe availability.
For fans of cross-country skiing, rangers groom more than 50 miles of trails at forest preserves such as Blackwell in Warrenville, Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook; Danada and Herrick Lake in Wheaton; Greene Valley and Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, Mallard Lake in Hanover Park, Meacham Grove in Bloomingdale, and Waterfall Glen in Darien.
Visitors who aren't classic skiers should use the inside of the rails to avoid damaging the set tracks.
Sledding, skating and ice fishing
Ice fishing, ice skating, and sledding are allowed at most forest preserves, although never at Spring Creek Reservoir in Bloomingdale.
Additionally, sledding is not allowed at Mount Hoy at Blackwell or the closed landfill sites at Greene Valley and Mallard Lake.
The Forest Preserve District does not monitor ice conditions, so visitors go on ice at their own risk.
As a guideline not a guarantee, there should be at least 4 inches of clear ice for any activity for one person and 8 inches of clear ice for a group.
Anglers can find complete regulations in the fishing guide at www.dupageforest.org.
Finally, when there's adequate snow conditions, mushers can dog sled on the Thunderbird Spur Trail at Greene Valley and on the West Branch Regional Trail, Bobolink and connector trails north of Mack Road at the McKee Marsh area of Blackwell.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and scores of programs each year. For information, call (630) 933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org, where you can also link to the District's e-newsletter, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok pages.