Lots of fresh snow and more on the way mean just one thing for suburban kids - sledding! Here are some of our favorite local spots.
Blackwell Forest Preserve
Butterfield Road west of Winfield Road, near Warrenville
Why it's great: $4 rents you a tube to use all day on the 800-foot run.
What to watch out for: Open only on weekends and school holidays; hill closes at 4 p.m. and tube rental ends at 3:30 p.m.
Rules: Don't bring your own tube - you have to rent. No sleds.
Other amenities: Cross-country skiers can use groomed trails, and you might spot dog sledders on designated trails.
27908 Fairfield Road, near Lake Villa
Why it's great: In addition to a sizable hill, Caboose Park has one of the area's few toboggan chutes.
What to watch out for: People climbing up in the center of the hill, not the sides.
Rules: Don't build jumps and ramps.
Other amenities: Lighted until 10 p.m.
Proximity to hot chocolate: A short drive east in Lake Villa.
Deer Grove Forest Preserve
Quentin Road north of Dundee Road, Palatine
Why it's great: This hill no longer rents toboggans to go down chutes, but still has a sled run that ends over icy Deer Grove Lake for a l-o-o-ng ride.
What to watch out for: Chunks of ice at the bottom.
Rules: No skis, inflatable tubes, carpets, snowboards or metal-rail sleds. Kids under 12 need a helmet and adult supervision.
Other amenities: Open until 10 p.m. with lights.
Proximity to hot chocolate: Caribou Coffee, 581 E. Dundee Road (just west of Rand Road), is a short drive away
Fabyan Forest Preserve
Entrances on Route 25 and Route 31 north of Fabyan Parkway, near Geneva
Why it's great: Spectacular setting with a historic Dutch windmill and the Fox River as backdrops.
What to watch out for: Don't look here for solitude, though the wide hill accommodates crowds well.
Other amenities: Lighted on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Proximity to hot chocolate: With the park sandwiched between Geneva and Batavia, sustenance is a short drive away.
Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve
41W600 Hughes Road, Elburn
Why it's great: A long, steep hill makes for fast sledding and snowboarding, often with a few homemade ramps.
What to watch out for: Not the best choice for small children.
Other amenities: Warming house, sometimes with a fire.
Proximity to hot chocolate: Take a thermos - the vicinity remains semi-rural.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
Fairfield and Ivanhoe roads, near Wauconda
Why it's great: The pretty, wooded setting will make you feel like you're in a Norman Rockwell painting until your first trip down this death-defying, steep run.
What to watch out for: It's a long walk back up; a handrail helps. Can get crowded; arrive while the snow is fresh.
Rules: No snowboards or sleds with metal runners
Other amenities: Lighted until 9 p.m.; a small skating pond is near the parking area.
Proximity to hot chocolate: A short drive west in Wauconda
Meineke Recreation Center
220 E Weathersfield Way, Schaumburg
Why it's great: A kid-friendly hill with plenty of space.
What to watch out for: Afternoon sun heats up the west-facing hill and it can get icy, which some say adds to the fun.
Other amenities: Meineke Recreation Center next door offers a place to warm up or for parents to work out while older kids sled.
Proximity to hot chocolate: It's Schaumburg - restaurants are everywhere.
North Salk Park
3160 Owl Drive, Rolling Meadows
Why it's great: Family friendly, with steps for the climb back up.
What to watch out for: Little tykes lingering at the bottom.
Rules: No sledding if a red flag is posted; yellow flag means use caution.
Other amenities: Lighted in the evenings.
Proximity to hot chocolate: The sled hill's right in town, so plenty of options are close by.
Randall Oak Park
1180 N. Randall Road, West Dundee
Why it's great: A good, fast ride but not too intimidating for younger kids.
What to watch out for: Crowds on weekends.
Rules: Snowboarding is allowed.
Other amenities: Scenic, wooded setting near a historic schoolhouse.
Proximity to hot chocolate: McDonald's, Wendy's, Culver's, Garibaldi's and more are less than a half mile away.
Riverwalk north of Aurora Avenue and west of Eagle Street, Naperville
Why it's great: The steepest point in the city, but not too scary for little kids.
What to watch out for: Popular spot gets crowded after fresh snow. Rules: No skiing, snowboarding or metal-railed sleds.
Other amenities: Carillon rings every hour so you don't have an excuse to get home late; downtown Naperville location gives parents good shopping options while older kids sled.
Proximity to hot chocolate: Snack shop adjacent to hill.
Route 176 and Walkup Road, Crystal Lake
Why it's great: Two hills (made by glaciers, not bulldozers) offer serious sledding.
What to watch out for: Your hat - these hills are fast and steep.
Other amenities: Ice skating; a warming house; lights on one hill at night.
Proximity to hot chocolate: Downtown Crystal Lake is minutes away.
• Daily Herald staff contributed to this report