Maple Lake

 

A peaceful place for fishing and boating, this 60-acre lake offers more than 8,000 feet of shoreline with plenty of spots for camping chairs and fishing poles.

Maple Lake is a peaceful spot for leisurely fishing trips and quiet boating in far southwestern Cook County. Originally constructed by damming a ravine in the 1920s, Maple Lake has offered family fun to generations of local anglers. The 60-acre lake offers 8,000 feet of shoreline with plenty of spots for camping chairs and fishing poles. The wooded shorelines and the hilly Palos Preserves extending in all directions lend a feeling of cozy remoteness. Movie buffs might recognize Maple Lake as the location of the home of Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in the 2006 film The Lake House. While the film set is gone, hiking trails, overlooks and picnic areas remain—as well as plenty of fish to catch.

 

Enjoying Maple Lake

Maple Lake can be accessed from three places: Maple Lake Boating Center, Maple Lake Overlook and Maple Lake East. Parking is available at all three locations. Popular for shoreline fishing, the lake contains both steep and gradually sloping shorelines, with several contour changes along the bottom, including several deep holes. The deepest part of the lake, at 22 feet, is just to the west of the overlook. The lake also contains artificial fish habitat added to increase the overall fishing experience. Anglers can catch largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, channel catfish, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, yellow bass, and bullhead. All Forest Preserve fishing regulations apply, including daily size and creel limits, and an Illinois fishing license is required.

 

Maple Lake Overlook, along 95th Street, offers shoreline fishing and a small, recently restored limestone peninsula. While the entire lake is designated for ice fishing, the overlook is a popular ice fishing spot. The Forest Preserves does not monitor ice thickness, but recommends at least four inches of solid ice before venturing out.

 

A marked trail leads from this parking area to Maple Lake East, about ½ mile east around the lake. Maple Lake East offers several picnic groves that can accommodate large groups, as well as a short pier, which occupies the former Lake House site. The unpaved trails around Maple Lake are open to hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers.


Nature at Maple Lake
In addition to the fish population at Maple Lake, the area is a migratory stop for geese and ducks. A feeding station draws birds such as tufted titmouse, fox sparrows and white-throated sparrows. Remnant oak savannas are being restored along the west and north lake boundaries. Here, dappled sunlight reaches between oak branches, giving life to myriad native plants, such as elm-leaved goldenrod, woodland sunflower and Pennsylvania sedge.

  • Location

  • Willow Springs, Illinois

    SW Cook County

    60 acres of open water


    Best for

    FishingHikingBikingCross Country SkiingPicnic Grove

    Directions

    From I-55 South, take the exit for US-12/US-20/South LaGrange Road, heading south. The second intersection inside the forest preserves is 95th Street. Follow 95th Street right/west for about two miles. Visitors will reach parking for Maple Lake East first, on the south side of the road. For the overlook, continue west on 95th. To reach the boating center, turn south onto Wolf Road.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County