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8 Blueprint


March 9, 2018

‘Adventure is out there’: best places to go hiking in the Downers Grove area Over the years, I’ve developed a passion for being outside and breathing fresh air. Once I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, my favorite thing to do was explore all of the forest preserves in the area to find the best adventure spots. In a world that’s constantly filled with social media and technology, there’s just something beautiful about slowing down and finding time to appreciate the world around us. Living in the Downers Grove area is often seen as boring by high schoolers because there aren’t a ton of things to do, but

overcrowded with people because it’s such a great spot to take pictures with friends. The best part of Waterfall Glen, however, is all of the discrete, unknown spots to explore. One of my favorite spots, located about two miles from the Lemont Road entrance, is the airfield in the middle of Waterfall Glen. A group uses it to fly model airplanes on Saturdays in the summer, but otherwise it’s an empty area of grass that’s perfect for picnics. Another great but unknown spot is located off of the Cass Avenue entrance. Instead of parking in the parking lot, park your car in the spots on

what a lot of people don’t know is how many secluded, beautiful forest preserves DuPage County has to offer. Within 20 minutes of DGS, there are more than 15 spots to hike, picnic and enjoy time outdoors. Here are the three, best forest preserves in the area. Waterfall Glen Waterfall Glen is undisputedly the place to hike around Downers Grove. It’s the most popular spot, and for good reason. With entrances off of both Cass Avenue and Lemont Road, it’s easily accessible and offers over 10 miles of hiking trails. Its famous feature is the waterfall, which is located about half a mile from the Cass Avenue entrance. On beautiful days, it’s often

the side of the road. To get into the forest preserve, you squeeze around the fence–don’t worry, it’s a real entrance. From there, just start walking straight. You’ll pass an opening to a path that leads to the waterfall, but keep going straight for two to three miles until you find another open area. You’ll pass by miles of wild grasses and flowers and, because the route is often free of other people, you’ll be alone with your thoughts, which makes for an extremely liberating hike. Just make sure to bring a hiking buddy with you for safety. Herrick Lake While I love exploring Waterfall Glen, my favorite place to hike in

By Sarah Major, Print Co-Editor-In-Chief

DuPage County is easily Herrick Lake in Wheaton. It’s 15 to 20 minutes from DGS, with the main entrance off of Butterfield Road. The easiest way to get there is to take Route 53, turn left on Butterfield and drive until the entrance comes up on your left. Herrick Lake Forest Preserve is open one hour after sunrise until one hour after Herrick Lake sunset every day of the year. has all of the best outdoor compoentrance feels more like a larger system of paved trails that spans across nents. I’ve spent time park, with picnic tables, DuPage County. The there hiking, picnicking pavilions and great spots preserve offers about 12 and taking senior picto take pictures, but the miles of trails, which is tures, and the park disback part of the 887-acre pretty sizable for a forest trict also offers kayak and area has trails and gives preserve wedged between canoe rentals from May off the same vibe as any subdivisions. to September for just $10. other forest preserve in The hike itself is more The area near the main the area. challenging than one at While the trails aren’t Waterfall Glen or Herrick quite as long as WaterLake due to the fact that fall Glen’s, Herrick Lake the preserve is located on makes for a much calmer the large hill near 75th hike. There are very Street and Route 53, so few hills and the paths the incline on these trails are generally shaded by is much greater than trees, which means that those of the other two you won’t overheat in the locations. summer months. However, between the Herrick Lake is a much three locations mentioned lesser known forest prehere, Greene Valley is the serve in and around one that I visit least often Downers Grove, so if due to its closeness to you’re looking for a secluded place to spend time busy roads nearby. While there are typically very without the risk of seeing few people on the trails, people you know, Herrick silence is hard to come Lake is the place to go. Additionally, its proximity by because 75th Street, to restaurants means that which is almost always you can stop to grab a bite bustling with cars, is adjacent to the preserve. after your hike. In a world filled with Greene Valley technology and the noise My final favorite hikof everyday life, spending spot is Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naper- ing time outdoors is the Waterfall Glenn one way I know of finding ville. While I’ve only ever true, consistent silence, hiked at Greene Valley, so when I hike, I prefer it there are also great bike to be secluded from maintrails that connect to a stream life. It’s easy to get lost in the monotony of dayto-day life, but taking time to unplug and adventure in the woods makes a difference in our happiness. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just like to take time for yourself, prioritize getting outside and enjoying everything that DuPage County forest preserves have to offer. Photos by Sarah Major

08entertainment issue 4  
08entertainment issue 4