Enjoy winter activities in Forest Preserves of Cook County

  • A family enjoys sledding at Caldwell Woods in Chicago. Caldwell Woods offers sledding from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    A family enjoys sledding at Caldwell Woods in Chicago. Caldwell Woods offers sledding from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Courtesy of Forest Preserves of Cook County

  • Snowshoeing at Crabtree Nature Center Center in Barrington. Patrons can enjoy more than 350 miles of cross-country skiing trails from sunrise to sunset in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

    Snowshoeing at Crabtree Nature Center Center in Barrington. Patrons can enjoy more than 350 miles of cross-country skiing trails from sunrise to sunset in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Courtesy of Forest Preserves of Cook County

 
Submitted by Forest Preserves of Cook County
Posted1/8/2020 10:49 AM

The Forest Preserves of Cook County Winter 2019-2020 Programs and Events guide proves winter doesn't limit outdoor fun in the forest preserves.

The season welcomes opportunities to experience winter-themed events throughout the preserves and chances to stay active with sledding, ice skating and ice fishing, snowshoeing and more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy more than 350 miles of cross-country skiing trails from sunrise to sunset in the forest preserves. From mid-December to early March, weather permitting, Sagawau Environmental Learning Center transforms into Sagawau Nordic, a full-service cross-country ski center. The center provides rental equipment, lessons and access to groomed trails.

The forest preserves also provide opportunities to sled and snowboard in the winter. Caldwell Woods, Dan Ryan Woods, Swallow Cliff and Westchester Woods offer lighted sledding hills from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Snowboarders can take advantage of a designated snowboard-only hill at Dan Ryan Woods. Deer Grove, Pioneer Woods, Ted Lechowicz Woods and Schiller Woods are open to sledders from 10 a.m. to sunset every day. Snowboarding and sledding opportunities are contingent on snow cover.

As always, the flora and fauna of the forest preserves are on constant display throughout winter. Stroll a trail to see tree limbs crystallized in ice, listen to the elk bugle at Busse Woods or bring binoculars to watch waterfowl skate across the preserves' frozen waterways.

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For those who wish to escape the cold, unique exhibits and engaging events can be found at the Forest Preserves' six nature centers throughout the winter season.

For a full list of Forest Preserves events and programs, visit https://fpdcc.com/events/.

A sampling of upcoming programs include:

• Winter Watercolors: 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan, 10, Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Road, Elgin. Join for a winter art workshop and explore the beauty of nature through watercolor painting. Materials provided. For ages 21 and older. BYOB (no glass). Registration required.

• Ice Fishing 101:10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan 11, at Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Road, Elgin. Enjoy a family fishing adventure through the ice. Build an ice-rod and discuss necessary tackle, bait, suitable locations and safety precautions. In partnership with the Elgin Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• All About Fire: 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Jan 11, Thatcher Woods Pavilion, Chicago Avenue, west of Thatcher Avenue, River Forest. Learn safe practices for fire building and containment, then make your own fire and toast a marshmallow. All ages.

• Winter Photoshoot: 8-10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, Thatcher Woods Pavilion, Chicago Avenue, west of Thatcher Avenue, River Forest. Hike around Thatcher Woods and down to the Des Plaines River for some magical winter photography. Registration required; call (312) 533-5751.

• Winter Exploration Day: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan 25, Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter, 6350 W. Devon Ave., Chicago. Find your way using a compass, follow local animal tracks and more. Warm up by the indoor fire and make a s'more. Snowshoeing and sledding available, weather permitting.

• Cold Weather Crafting: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, Swallow Cliff-North Pavilion, Calumet Sag Road, west of La Grange Road, Palos Hills. Enjoy a cozy winter morning inside with hot beverages and listening to the crackle of a fire while creating nature-themed art.

• Winter Exploration Day: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday Feb. 8, Thatcher Woods Pavilion, Chicago Avenue, west of Thatcher Avenue, River Forest. Learn to navigate using new-found orienteering skills, make a craft using natural materials, track animals and learn photography skills.

• Winter Wellness: Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Road, Elgin. Don't let the cold weather get you down. Tune into nature with a guided meditation with staff from Elgin's Gail Borden Public Library. Registration required.

• Winter Watercolors: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb, 29, Mathew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center, 6100 N. Central Ave., Chicago. Join for a winter art workshop and explore the beauty of nature through watercolor painting. Materials provided. All ages.

For a full list of Forest Preserves events and programs, visit https://fpdcc.com/events/.

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