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President's Letter: Enjoy Nature in the Forest Preserves of Cook County this Winter

Sparkling, snow-covered landscapes. Peaceful scenery. Brisk temperatures and fresh air. Whether you want to experience the peace and tranquility of nature or feel invigorated and refreshed, there is so much to enjoy in the Forest Preserves of Cook County throughout the winter months.

If you’re looking for peaceful activities to enjoy in nature, consider walking our trails. The sights, sounds and even the scents of the Forest Preserves change with the seasons, offering up new experiences all year. Check out our interactive web map, map.fpdcc.com, to find the nearest trails.

You can also shake up your winter exercise routine and head outdoors to use the Forest Preserves. Beyond exploring the trails, consider taking on one of the sets of fitness stairs for a heart-pumping workout. At Swallow Cliff Woods-North, stair users can take on a loop of limestone steps that ascend the 100-foot bluff. Or head to one of the Forest Preserves only locations within Chicago to use the fitness stairs at South Side’s Dan Ryan Woods.

If you’d prefer something exhilarating, check out the opportunities for winter sports in the Preserves. There are nine sledding hills located throughout the Forest Preserves. You can also check out Sagawau Nordic for groomed cross-country ski trails, complete with equipment rentals, lessons and ski-related programs. Or head to one of the five nature centers that loan out snowshoes.

If staying warm inside is the preference, don’t forget about planning a visit to one of our nature centers. Each location has displays about the plants, animals and natural communities of the region, and offers myriad indoor programs throughout the season. Naturalists are on hand to answer questions, and people of all ages—especially youth—will learn that nature is remarkable no matter the time of year.

And if you have children on break from school, be sure to check out our line-up of programming and special options offered during winter break. These kid-focused programs will get the whole family into nature to join in on fun outdoor adventures like snowshoeing, guided hikes, stories and s’mores around a campfire, and so much more. Find our full schedule at fpdcc.com/events. We hope to see you in the Preserves!