My pups and I are avid hikers and were beyond excited to move to an area so rich in parks and forest preserves. Our first mission as new residents was to scope out the best preserves in the area. With so many to choose from, it has been quite a challenge and a ton of fun! Through our “research” we feel confident that these forest preserves are some of the finest around. As we continue on our mission we’ll be adding more reviews of our new favorites, as well as pictures of them in their spring and summer glory.
Dick Young Forest Preserve – 1288 acres, 9 trail miles
39W115 Main Street, Batavia
Parking, Shelter, Restroom, Water, Equestrian Area
Review: Down the road from Batavia’s Bark Park is this gem of a nature preserve that’s home to at least five State endangered species and other rare and endangered birds and wildlife. Mowed trails loop through cropland and grasslands on the Meadowlark Trail. The Nelson Lake Trail, my personal favorite, takes you for a lengthy trip through wetland and woodland areas overlooking Nelson Lake Marsh. It’s not uncommon to see deer and the occasional coyote in the area so you’ll want to be watchful and mindful of the leash policy. Because of this park’s endangered inhabitants, I can’t stress enough how important it is that you be a responsible owner and pick up after your pet.
Oakhurst Forest Preserve – 393 acres, 7 trail miles
1680 Fifth Avenue, Aurora
Parking, Shelter, Picnic Area, Restroom, Water, Fishing, Boat Launch
Review: It seems every time I go to Oakhurst Forest Preserve it is completely flooded out, making it quite a mess to walk in even on the screenings (gravel). This is, of course, more my fault than the park’s but I do recommend avoiding it after any significant rain or snow melt. Other than that this is a beautiful park with a large lake and plenty of shaded wooded trails that are perfect for a long hike with your dog and family. As the temperatures climb we’ll definitely be frequenting this park to take advantage of all of the ways to keep my fluffy dogs cool in the heat.
Fabyan Forest Preserve – 199 acres, 4.27 trail miles
1925 Batavia Ave., Geneva
Parking, Shelter, Picnic Area, Restroom, Water, Fishing, Boat Launch, Japanese Garden
Review: If you’re looking for a beautiful stroll down the Fox River, you’re going to love Fabyan Forest Preserve with its historic buildings and peaceful gardens. You will find a short woodland trail as well as the Fox River Trail. This is one of the most heavily used preserves in the area with many joggers, bikers, fishermen, and families, so reactive or unruly dogs may have a difficult time here.