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Hidden Oaks Nature Center is getting a major makeover. Extensive renovations and improvements will require the nature center to be closed for much of 2024 starting Feb. 19. The preserve will close periodically for some outdoor renovation work, as needed. The projects will not affect Hidden Lakes Trout Farm.
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, forest and savanna.
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.
The preserve offers access to shoreline fishing on four lakes at Hidden Lakes Trout Farm.
Hidden Lakes Trout Farm also includes a new Tackle Box bait shop, which sells bait, tackle and concessions. Fishing poles with closed face, spincast reels are available for use for the day for free.
Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged, but daily limits are:
The following bait and tackle are some popular items also available for purchase: