Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to get some exercise, and you can ski on most forest preserve trails. Rangers groom over 80 miles when weather allows. If you're a classic skier, use the edge of the trail. Freestyle skiers and other visitors should stay in the center and avoid stepping on set tracks. Maps are available on our forest preserve pages.
Read more about how our crews maintain the forest preserves — including plowing and trail grooming — in winter.
You can ice fish on most forest preserve waters, but rangers do not monitor ice conditions; you go on the ice at your own risk. As a guideline not a guarantee, a minimum of 4 inches of ice is recommended for any activity.
Anglers 16 or older who are not legally disabled must carry a valid Illinois fishing license (an inland trout stamp, too, if you're fishing for trout). Both are available at local retailers and at Visitor Services at 630-933-7248.
Forest Preserve District regulations, depth maps and creel limits are available on our fishing page.
On weekends and school holidays December – February when there's plenty of snow on Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve (usually more than 3 inches) you can take a fun 800-foot ride down the hill. Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day. Only District tubes are allowed.
In 2020 – 2021
The tubing hill is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Rentals end at 3:30 p.m.
|Saturdays and Sundays
||Dec. 5 – Feb. 28
||Dec. 21 – Jan. 1 (Closed Dec. 25)
|Teacher Work Day
||Friday, Jan. 15, 2020
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day
||Monday, Jan. 18, 2020
||Monday, Feb. 15, 2020
|Teacher Institute Day
||Friday, Feb. 26
Explore the preserves by snowshoes! If you don't have a pair, you can rent some December – February at three forest preserves when there's plenty of snow on the trails. Rentals are $10 for two hours or $15 for the day.
At Blackwell Forest Preserve
When Mount Hoy's open for snow tubing, rent snowshoes at the base until 2 p.m.
Sledding and Ice Skating
You can sled and ice skate at most forest preserves, but rangers do not monitor conditions, so you do so at your own risk. As a guideline not a guarantee, a minimum of 4 inches of ice is recommended for any ice activity.
Sledding is always prohibited at Mount Hoy at Blackwell, Greene Valley scenic overlook, Mallard Lake landfill hill and any hill at Spring Creek Reservoir.
If there’s plenty of snow and you're a musher, you can use the Regional, Bobolink and connector trails through the McKee Marsh area north of Mack Road at Blackwell and the Thunderbird Spur Trail, which begins at the parking lot on Thunderbird Road, at Greene Valley. During the rest of the year, you can use wheeled carts under 4 feet wide on any trails that allow biking.
Remain on the trails and travel in a controlled, safe manner for the safety of other visitors and to protect the forest preserves’ natural areas.