Forest Faves: Elsen's Hill
The Elsen’s Hill area of West DuPage Woods Forest Preserve in Winfield has a quaint, peaceful quality to it that makes it a favorite spot to unwind for District senior ranger Pat Weber. He especially loves visiting the spot at sunrise and sunset when it's awash in spectacular oranges, pinks and purples. The area also offers an impressive array of plants and wildlife with its woodlands, prairie and half-acre Turtle Pond, a great spot to fish for bass and sunfish. Weber enjoys hiking, fishing or enjoying some winter activities in the area.
Weber’s favorite spot is the area once known as the Elsen’s Hill Winter Sports Area, which used to feature toboggan and sledding runs and winter sports until 1987. Weber is impressed with how the hill has transformed from a toboggan and sledding hill to the beautiful natural habitat it is today.
A nice two-mile loop trail provides visitors with a convenient way to tour the Elsen’s Hill, which can be accessed by the parking lot off Gary’s Mill Road east of Route 59.
Elsen’s Hill is part of the 462-acre West DuPage Woods Forest Preserve, which features five miles of trails perfect for hiking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding, picnicking and fishing along the West Branch of the DuPage River.
Throughout the preserve, visitors can explore the high-ground on mowed paths through the upland woods that showcase an impressive display of spring wildflowers. Or, they can visit the low-lying areas, where they’ll find the wetlands of Winfield Marsh and the banks of the West Branch DuPage River. Fall offers a spectacular display of colors throughout the preserve. The preserve is also a popular spot for bird watching and is known to host migrating warblers.