Van Patten Woods in northern Lake County encompasses 972 acres of prairie, native oak woodlands, and sedge meadows. The Des Plaines River (seen here) meanders the entire length of the preserve, and the beautiful 74-acre Sterling Lake lies at the southern end of the park.
Just north of Sterling Lake lies the northern trailhead for the Des Plaines River Trail, a crushed gravel trail which extends south for 12 miles with a 33-mile link-up planned for the near future. This trail is open to horses, snowmobiles, bicycles, as well as hikers and runners. In addition, Sterling Lake is encircled by foot trails that stretch approximately two miles. In the eastern half of Van Patten Woods lies a one-mile loop dedicated for hikers and cross-country skiers and a two-mile crushed gravel loop for cross country hikers, horses, and bicycles. Anyone out on the trails may see white-tailed deer, catch a glimpse of a coyote, look up to see some of the many raptors (red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, sharp-shinned hawk) or you may be very lucky and see some of the wild turkeys.
Photo captured October 5, 2014.
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