Love spending time outdoors with your pup? Check out the Mallard Lake Forest Preserve, where you and Fido can enjoy nature without having to leave the northwestern suburbs of Chicago! A former landfill site, this 948-acre spot is pawfect for leisurely strolls, picnics, and boat rides with your four-legged pal.
The preserve's main feature is the 85-acre Mallard Lake, the largest recreational lake in the district. If you have a private boating permit, you can bring in your own canoe or kayak and explore the unusually clear waters with Fido. Make sure your pooch stays in your boat, though, as the lake is infested with zebra mussels (which is why it's so clear!).
On land, the preserve offers 4 miles of trails, including limestone paths that will take you and your pooch around the lake, over two bridges, and along a boardwalk that is furrific for birdwatching. Because the area comprises different habitats such as open waters, wetlands, fields, and woodlands, it is home to a variety of wildlife like beavers, bobolinks, bullfrogs, great blue herons, and red-tailed hawks—see how many birds and wild animals you can spot along the way! If you and your doggo are up for a longer walk, you can follow the trails to the North Central DuPage Regional Trail, the Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve, or the Bartlett Park District Trail System.
Don't forget to bring food so you and your pup can refuel after your hike! The preserve has several picnic tables and grassy areas where you can enjoy a packed lunch while resting your tired feet and paws. Other things that you should not leave at home are a camera, sunscreen, water, and doggie waste bags. Always pick up after your furry buddy and keep them on a leash no longer than 10 feet.
For a dog-friendly outdoor adventure that's right in the burbs, head to the Mallard Lake Forest Preserve with Fido!