Sunday, April 28, 2019

Dazzling Water Views While Hiking at Pratt's Wayne Woods in Illinois

Dazzling Water Views While Hiking at Pratt's Wayne Woods in Illinois

Dazzling Water Views Whike Hiking at Pratt's Wayne Woods in Illinois

As the largest forest preserve in DuPage County, Pratt's Wayne Woods offers a variety of natural landscapes including oak savannas, marsh, wetlands and grasslands. Over 12 miles of trails are available for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding. When we arrived, we immediately were drawn to the string of lakes and wetlands. Just mesmerizing:

Beautiful blue skies and lake at Pratt's Wayne Woods
Beautiful blue skies and lake!
We ventured to Pratt's Wayne Woods on an idyllic day, 70 degrees and sunny. The preserve was incredibly tranquil and we were enamored with the variety of water views including stunning blue lakes and ponds as well as a more mossy wetland area.


A Day for the Turtles!

Snapping turtle savoring the spring sun at Pratt's Way Woods in Wayne, Illinois
Snapping turtle savoring the spring sun at Pratt's Way Woods.
Turtles were certainly enjoying the day as much as we were. We spied a large snapping turtle busy sunning himself. A number of other turtles relaxed nearby and a few even jumped into the water.

More turtles having their best lives ever in the sun at Pratt's Wayne Woods in Wayne, Illinois
More turtles having their best lives ever in the sun!
We definitely did not have a shortage of turtle sightings!

Picturesque spot where a bridge rises above the wetlands at Pratt's Wayne Woods in Illinois
Picturesque spot where a bridge rises above the wetlands.
Eventually, we crossed a bridge pausing for some extra views. Parts of the lake and wetland area that we hiked through were slightly covered by the canopy of the forest. We enjoyed a dirt trail through part of the wooded area.

Hiking a dirt trail through the woods at Pratt's Wayne Woods
Hiking a dirt trail through the woods.
Soon, we headed to the marsh area where we were greeted with sign detailing the discovery of 12,000 year mastodon remains on the site.

Learning about the mastodon discovered at Pratt's Wayne Woods
Learning about the mastodon remains discovered in the preserve in 2005.
Both dogs and bikes are prohibited in the marsh. The marsh is a special area that the forest preserve has been working to restore. We did not stay very long on this visit preferring to walk in more wooded areas. On the way out, however, we spied a particularly picturesque nature scene on the fringe of the marsh:

A melding of woods and wetland at Pratt's Wayne Woods
A melding of woods and wetland

Our New Nature Haven:

The wetlands of Pratt's Wayne Woods really swept us up in the beauty and magic of nature. When we first discovered Pratt's Wayne Woods on a map of DuPage County Forest Preserves, we were unsure about what we would find. As we explored and encountered beautiful wetlands and ponds, we fell in love with the preserve. We would love to pack a picnic for our next visit and enjoy a little dejeuner while enjoying the sights, sounds and movements of the wetlands. Of course, we would follow our sojourn with hiking and observing nature. Pure nature bliss!

To Know about Pratt's Wayne Woods:

  • See the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County website to note where each nature activity can be enjoyed.
  • There is a designated portion off of Stearns Road for flying model aircraft. See website for rules.
  • The preserve has been designated an important site for birds by Audubon.
  • There are equestrian events at the preserve, so you may see some jumps.
  • Fishing is permitted but see website for rules. Harrier Lake is catch-and-release.
**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hiking and Water Views Pratt's Wayne Woods Northern Illinois

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