Forest Faves: Hidden Lake Forest Preserve
Every ranger has a forest favorite — that preserve go-to spot for fishing, watching wildlife, picnicking and more. One of ranger Jacob Nordmann's favorite spots is the bridge overlooking Eagle Lake at Hidden Lake Forest Preserve in Downers Grove. He especially likes how the spot provides a peaceful respite amid the hustle and bustle of busy highways and Downers Grove. Nordmann enjoys fishing, kayaking, biking and hiking at Hidden Lake.
The 393-acre Hidden Lake Forest Preserve features two lakes and the East Branch DuPage River, providing an ideal spot to fish, hike or just relax. The preserve is one of the few places in the county where visitors can hear spring peepers in the wooded ponds.
Nordmann said he loves to see the many ways visitors find to enjoy Hidden Lake, from picnicking to walking along the trails after work to taking in the beauty of the lake. Work will wrap up this summer on a new 50-person picnic shelter in the picnic area near Hidden Lake's north parking lot.
The 24-foot by 36-foot shelter will offer scenic views of Round Meadow Lake and contain two fixed grills, including one that meets ADA specifications. The shelter will accommodate six picnic tables and be near the preserve’s other amenities — a flush washroom and 49-car parking lot.
Hidden Lake is also home to King Grove, a remnant woodland of red, white and bur oaks. More than 2 miles of limestone trails wind through the preserve, making it a great destination for hikers, joggers, birders and other wildlife watchers.
The true Hidden Lake is a glacier-dug pond tucked away among mature oaks and hickories. For anglers, the 15-acre Round Meadow Lake, created in conjunction with I-355, and the 10-acre Eagle Lake, dug in the shape of a soaring eagle by a previous owner as a memorial, offer bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish.