News you can use
After a short hiatus, Hidden Oaks Nature Center will reopen to the public on July 6 as it hosts its first exhibit under Forest Preserve District ownership.
The 33-acre Hidden Oaks Preserve was acquired in 2022.
The preserve is part of the DuPage River preservation system, which conserves more than 1,500 acres.
Prior to the District’s acquisition of the land, the property was owned and managed by the Bolingbrook Park District.
Hidden Oaks protects a diversity of habitats, including prairie, upland and lowland oak woodland and savannah.
Wildlife found at the preserve includes a multitude of song birds from wrens, blue jays and robins to chickadees and brown creepers. Raptors including hawks and woodpeckers including hairy woodpeckers and yellow-bellied sapsuckers are also present. In addition, fox squirrels, gray squirrels, raccoons and opossums, as well as turkey, deer and garter snakes, call this preserve home.
The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, from bergamot and goldenrod to spring ephemerals including Dutchman’s breeches, cut-leaved toothwort and Virginia bluebells. Trees include bur oaks, maples, black cherries and more.
Amenities and activities
Hidden Oaks Preserve includes a .39-mile, paved segment of the DuPage River Trail and provides access to an additional 3.71-mile portion of the trail, located at the Forest Preserve’s Whalon Lake. Hidden Oaks is immediately south of Whalon Lake, and a bridge spanning the East Branch of the DuPage River connects the two preserves. The DuPage River Trail is ideal for the following activities:
- In-line skating
- Cross-country skiing
Hidden Oaks also offers a 0.6-mile natural surface trail for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Starting in summer 2022, the preserve will offer one picnic shelter for rental: Hidden Oaks Shelter (permit capacity of 50 people).
The preserve offers access to shoreline fishing on four lakes at Hidden Lakes Trout Farm.
Hidden Lakes Trout Farm will also include a new bait shop which, when construction is complete, will sell bait, tackle and concessions.
Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged, but daily limits are:
Hidden Oaks Nature Center will open in summer 2022 and will offer nature programming, free Forest Preserve publications and trail maps, live reptiles and a nature playscape. A gift shop will open in fall 2022, and private event rentals and nature-themed rental packages will be available starting in 2023.