Why Lake Patterson and Oakhurst Forest Preserve?
If you are looking for a new hiking, fishing, boating, picnicking and sledding hill destination around Naperville/Aurora area, Lake Patterson is an absolute hidden gem.
The 1.7-mile trail meanders the stunning lake
Tip: The GPS directions aren’t great, set your GPS here to get to the parking lots near the lake. As long as you aim for the sledding hill on the 5th avenue, you should be fine!
The giant Oakhurst Forest Preserve sign beckons you from the 5th avenue entrance.
There are a couple of picnic shelters, handy for a quick bite before or after the hike and the hill ascend.
The 55-acre lake is the main highlight.
#Funfact – this lake was actually dug out in the middle of the preserve as a flood control and detection system.
Iced up Lake Patterson (taken in Feb 2023)
The 1.7-mile loop trail around the lake is mostly flat and suitable for all ages. Note that the most of the trail is without the shade so might get a bit too toasty in peak summer sun.
The hiking path is mostly gravel, but has some asphalt-paved patches too.
We went in early April, where the flora was getting back to life, to signal spring.
There is no boat rental facility but you could launch your own boats and kayaks in the lake.
The dirt after digging the 55-acre lake led to the origin of the adjoining mound hill, which is a huge hit for sledding in the winter months.
And of course, kiddos can’t really resist racing up and down the hill, numerous times.
A lone tree stood tall at the top of the hill, and all of us flocked around it.
At the back of the hill, there is a neatly tucked in ridge, and an off-trail worth hiking.
#MildlyInteresting – We found a lesser-used path with steep descent at the end of the ridge and used that to shimmy down the hill, much to the excitement of the kids in our troupe.
After relishing the hike and the hill in the congenial spring sun, we gathered around for a quick bite and an impromptu game of dumb charades.
And just like that, the lengthening shadows cued us that the fun time is over.
So long, Lake Patterson