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Illinois: Van Patten Woods
Posted on Thursday, June 08 @ 08:16:38 CDT by iljiana

Horse Rentals & Day Ride Trails vlado writes "The entrance and parking area are located on Route 173, east of Route 41 and west of Green Bay Road.
Wadsworth, IL
Lake County

The 991-acre Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve is one of the premier recreation sites in Lake County. A majestic oak forest, 74-acre Sterling Lake, and the Des Plaines River provide a picturesque backdrop for outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, picnicking and horseback riding.

Five miles of crushed-gravel trails offer fun for hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and horseback riders. The Des Plaines River Trail bisects the Preserve and is open to horses, bicycles, and hikers. Its trailhead is at the far northern Russell Road entrance. It can also be accessed from other trails within the Preserve.

On the Preserve's northern end is a rustic tent youth campground that can be reserved for organized youth groups of up to 100. The site has a water pump, fire rings, firewood, parking and comfort stations.

Van Patten Woods was Lake County's first Forest Preserve, created in 1961 with a 162-acre purchase. In the 1970s the abandoned gravel pit that is now Sterling Lake was acquired. Mined from the 1930s through the mid-1970s, this area was deeply scarred. Major restoration that took place between 1989 and 1993 resulted in the safe and clean preserve visitors enjoy today.

The key natural feature here is the Des Plaines River and its adjacent floodplain, which serve as a refuge to many native species while providing flood control to Lake County residents. On higher ground to the river's east, you can relax among native oak woodlands and planted pine groves. To the west, natural areas are being restored where the former gravel quarry had severely altered the land. For more information:(847) 367-6640"

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