Visitors can see a soaring hawk, launch a model glider, and catch a glimpse of the Chicago skyline from the scenic overlook at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville.
The overlook atop a former landfill opens for the season on Saturday, May 4, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 27.
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And after you've taken in the view, there are plenty of trails and other activities in the rest of the preserve to make a full day of it.
The overlook access drive is off Greene Road south of 79th Street. Visitors can drive to and park at the summit, which stands at 190 feet above the land surface, the highest public ground in the county. Due to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency maintenance and construction activities, the overlook may close during the season, however, without notice.
District staff members provide binoculars and a spotting scope to help visitors see far-off vistas and migrating birds. Model glider and sailplane enthusiasts with valid district permits can launch their nonpowered crafts from the top as well. Permits are available through Visitor Services by calling (630) 933-7248 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
For a more "down-to-earth" exploration, hikers and bikers can use the 1.9-mile Hawk Trail, which circles the hill's base.
The overlook rests on top of a closed landfill, which operated from 1974 until 1996. A gas-to-energy plant converts methane the landfill produces into enough energy to power thousands of area homes.
Revenues received from the landfill's former disposal operations and current gas-to-energy plant operation -- not tax dollars -- funded the construction of the recreational improvements and continue to fund the maintenance of the overlook.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County owns and manages 25,000 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands. To get district e-news in your inbox, sign up at dupageforest.org/e-newsletter. For general information, visit dupageforest.org or call (630) 933-7200.