Experience the joy of hiking in the wintertime

By: Brittany Kovach, Communications & Marketing Coordinator

As I was walking through the snow covered trails at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, looking at the serene landscapes on a peaceful hike, I had an epiphany that winter hikes really are the best.

There’s so much to learn on a winter hike and you can choose your own adventure. I enjoyed watching the mallards dunking their heads and swimming in Ferson Creek. It was interesting seeing all of the animal tracks and trying to figure out which animal made them — thanks to an animal tracking program I attended at the District. Trekking up hills of snow to see beautiful tree branches covered in rime ice and stumbling upon a fun teepee for children to play in. Discovering several snowmen along the way, which my boys would have loved to see. The sounds of the creek rippling by was so calming, I could stay there for hours.

Not only did I relish in the fact that my hike was beautiful, but the added benefits of the exercise that I was getting from stomping through the snow made it all the more fantastic. Many people seem to avoid winter hikes because of the cold, but if you wear the right gear (warm boots, gloves, hat, etc.) you will actually start to warm up fast (and maybe even feel too warm!) from all the walking.

There are so many preserves in Kane County that have wonderful trails for hiking in the winter. To name a few: LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles; Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn; Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora; Les Arends Forest Preserve in Batavia; Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove; Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia; Tekakwitha Woods Forest Preserve in St. Charles.

There is something about taking a hike through a wintry wonderland and watching the world around you covered in fresh snow. It truly makes you appreciate the way you feel about wintertime in Illinois.

Photos by Brittany Kovach

Winter in the Woodlands

On those cold winter days, many animals tend to stay out of the wind to keep warm. The woodlands help provide them with shelter. Join Forest Preserve District naturalists for a hike through the woods to see how our local animals survive the harsh Illinois winters.

This program is on Sunday, Jan. 17, from 10-11 a.m. at Campton Forest Preserve, located at 4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles. To register for this free, all-ages program, call 630-444-3190 or email programs@kaneforest.com.

Masks are required at all nature programs. Group sizes will be limited and social distancing will take place. Stay home if you are sick or experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms. Thank you for keeping yourself and others safe.

To see a full roster of upcoming winter programs, visit www.kaneforest.com. Find us on social media by searching @forestpreserve.

Photo by Forest Preserve District of Kane County Sign Specialist Steve Pyszka