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The weather outside is delightful

Enjoy skating, tubing, ice fishing and more in nature's winter wonderland


Last updated 12/23/2019 at 4:15pm | View PDF

Cross country skiing trails at DuPage County Forest Preserve properties will open as soon as Mother Nature cooperates. Other fun outdoor winter activities are on tap this winter in Hinsdale and surrounding areas. (photo provided)

With winter officially under way, activities taking advantage of the season's falling temps are on the rise. The Village of Hinsdale and the DuPage and Cook forest preserve districts are offering a number of ways to keep one's warm blood pumping in the cold. Here are a few:

• Ice skating

Burns Field

320 N. Vine St.

The village-operated rink at Burns Field will open for use once weather permits (4-6 consecutive full days of weather below 32 degrees). Once the ice is in place, posted signs will indicate if the rinks are open or closed. The rink is lit for evening activities, and warming house hours there are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays - supervised, with free hot chocolate and a fire. Hockey is permitted, and the park will close nightly at 10 p.m. Updates on rink ice conditions will be provided on the village's website,, and its Facebook page,

• Snow tubing

Blackwell Forest Preserve

Butterfield Road just went of Winfield Road, Warrenville

Take a thrilling 800-foot ride down Mount Hoy when 3 or more inches of snow covers the hill. Only forest district inner tubes are permitted, and the rental cost is $10 per tube per day. Rentals end at 3:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. The hill is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Jan. 3, and weekends and school holidays through Feb. 24. For snow conditions, call (630) 871-6422.

• Cross-county skiing

Hinsdale's Katherine Legge Memorial Park, 5901 S. County Line Road, is a popular spot for skiers once enough snow falls. And the DuPage County Forest Preserve District features trails at many of its properties, as well. When conditions permit, staff members groom more than 70 miles of trails for classical and freestyle cross-country at the following sites:

Blackwell, Warrenville

Churchill Woods, Glen Ellyn

Cricket Creek, Addison

Danada, Wheaton

Egermann Woods, Lisle

Fullersburg Woods, Oak Brook

Greene Valley, Naperville

Herrick Lake, Wheaton

Hidden Lake, Downers Grove

McDowell Grove, Naperville

Springbrook Prairie, Naperville

St. James Farm, Warrenville

Timber Ridge, West Chicago

Waterfall Glen, Darien

West DuPage Woods, West Chicago

Trail users are asked to take care not to damage tracks that have been set. Maps for most forest preserve trails are available at For information on trail conditions, call the district's outdoor report at (630) 871-6422 and press 3, then press 2.

• Snowshoeing

DuPage County forest preserves are great places to explore by snowshoes. Bring a pair or rent some at three forest preserves when there is plenty of snow on the trails. Rentals are $10 for two hours or $15 per day.

At Fullersburg Woods, 3609 Spring Road, Oak Brook, snowshoes can be rented from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 2 p.m. Sundays. Call (630) 850-8110 for availability.

When Blackwell's Mount Hoy is open for snow tubing, rent snowshoes at the base until 2 p.m.

Rental snowshoes are also available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at the forest district headquarters, 3S580 Naperville Road, Wheaton. Last rentals are at 2 p.m. Call (630) 933-7200 for availability.

• Cross-country ski lessons

Weekends, Jan. 4 to March 8

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

12545 W. 111th St, Lemont

(630) 257-2045

Learn to ski with a certified professional ski instructor of America. The program is for ages 12 and up. Registration for each lesson starts the Monday prior to the lesson date. Time: 9:30 a.m. Cost: $20. RR

• Hard Water Classic

Jan. 11

Blackwell Forest Preserve Butterfield Road just west of Winfield Road, Warrenville

(630) 933-7248

Anglers of all ages are invited to test their skills at this eighth annual DuPage County Forest Preserve District ice fishing tournament. The top three catches of largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike and crappie will receive gift cards to local sporting goods stores. The biggest catch overall will earn a gas-powered auger or ice shelter. Door prizes will also be awarded. Participants must bring gear and bait and comply with all applicable fishing regulations and tournament rules. Anglers 16 and older who are not legally disabled must carry valid Illinois fishing licenses. Proceeds support ranger-led recreation programs for special-needs groups, youth groups, Scouts and community resource centers in DuPage County. If condition are not ideal, the event will take place Feb. 8. Time: 11 to 11:45 a.m. check-in, noon to 3:30 p.m. tournament. Cost: $20, $25 at the event.

• Fitness hike

Jan 26

Country Lane Woods

95th Street east of Willow Springs Road, near Willow Springs

(708) 386-4042

This five-mile hike is for those looking to get some exercise outdoors, conducted at a faster pace with little to no stopping or interpretation on unpaved, rolling terrain. Time: 10 a.m.

• Wonders of Winter

Feb. 1

Mayslake Peabody Estate

1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook

(630) 933-7248

All ages are invited to discover the fun of visiting a forest preserve in winter through horse-drawn hay rides, ice fishing, geocaching, nature hikes and more. Then warm up inside Mayslake Hall with activities related to forest preserve plants, animals and programs from rangers, naturalists and volunteers. Activities are ongoing throughout the event. Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission: Free with fees for some activities.

• Snowshoe trekking

Feb. 9

Camp Bullfrog Lake

9600 Wolf Road, Willow Springs

(708) 386-4042

Enjoy this forest preserve on snowshoes; program requires at least four inches of snow. Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Birkie Tune Up

Feb. 16

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center

12545 W. 111th St., Lemont

(630) 257-2045

Join this cross county skiing program and be ready for the Feb. 22 staging of the American Birkebeiner, the largest Nordic ski race in the U.S. The program will only be held if ski trails are open. Time: 1 p.m.

- by Ken Knutson

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext 103


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