Herrick Lake & Danada Forest Preserves

Cycle Chicago, Sightseeing Ride, Herrick Lake & Danada Forest Preserves

Starting in Warrenville, the bike ride runs through two exceptionally well maintained and harmonious preserves that are full of natural beauty, habitat diversity and historical remnants. You’ll find the variety inviting. In fact, you very well might decide to spend the day biking, picnicking and relaxing here.

Terrain

Crushed limestone with a few gentle hills.

Access 

This ride is not readily accessible by transit.

By car, exit Interstate 88 on Winfield Road going north. Turn left just south of Butterfield Road into the parking area for the Illinois Prairie Path Aurora Branch.

Food and Drink

Plenty of water in the forest preserves.

Side Trips

This ride connects with several other bike paths. And just to the east is the Morton Arboretum.

 

More Details

Herrick Lake Forest Preserve

This bike ride serves up some of Chicagoland’s prettiest, most secluded and most pleasant biking. It loops through prairies and woods in a beautiful, natural setting along well-marked and well-maintained trails. There are remnants of farmsteads and grazing that occurred on the land long ago, while young forests of elm, maple, oak and linden are emerging on the former farm fields. Best of all, this ride avoids roads, which is refreshing compared with other forest preserve rides, most of which cross many busy highways. This ride goes around part of Lake Herrick. Consider biking completely around the lake, although the one-mile loop will take you through a parking lot. It may be small but this lake is one of the few natural glacial lakes in DuPage County.

Danada Forest Preserve

From the Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, the path runs into the Danada Forest Preserve, but the latter is distinct because Danada used to be a horse farm and is currently the site of an equestrian center. It sports stables, a barn and even a race track still used for horse shows! Of course, nature is the biggest attraction at Danada. The trail winds through 783 acres of rolling terrain that encompass wetlands, woodlands, restored prairies and an oak savanna with lots of native wildflowers. Along the way, there are many other things to see, including the Heroes Grove at 4.8 miles. This peaceful setting is a memorial to American courage and sacrifice related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks. Nine burr oaks and 11 white oaks stand silent vigil and invite you to pause and reflect. These two preserves are wrapped around the Arrowhead Country Club, adding to the ride’s green landscape and pastoral tranquility. The trails are busy during summer weekends but don’t let that keep you away! 

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Go north on crushed limestone path along Winfield Rd.
  • 0.1 Cross Winfield Rd.
  • 0.5 Continue straight past sign for Prairie Path to the left.
  • 1.2 Cross Wiesbrook Rd/Herrick Rd. Bear right into forest preserve and consult map.
  • 1.4 Bear right, then turn right at T to go partway around the lake.
  • 1.5 Go straight and cross small bridge.
  • 1.6 Stay on main Yellow Trail indicated in yellow on the guide post and go continuously toward Danada Forest Preserve.
  • 4.7 Main path takes you around to the right, crossing Danada’s Equestrian Center’s race track.
  • 4.8 Heroes Grove.
  • 4.9 Ride under bridge and pick up trail immediately afterward on right. It will look like a sidewalk in crushed limestone. Danada House will appear on right.
  • 5.0 Cross road and follow crushed limestone trail as it zigs and zags behind small buildings.
  • 5.1 Cross road and follow path to left between barn and garage.
  • 5.2 Follow the main, wide bike path past a picnic area on right.
  • 5.4 Bear right and continue to follow main path indicated by yellow markers.
  • 6.5 Path ends at Leask Ln. Turn around and return.
  • 7.4 Bear right in direction of Danada Trailhead.
  • 7.7 Retrace your way through picnic area, barn, garage and buildings.
  • 8.1 Ride under bridge. Danada House is on left.
  • 9.5 Bear right onto Blue Path to return on different paths.
  • 9.8 Continue straight onto Green Path.
  • 10.6 Savannah habitat on right.
  • 10.7 Continue on Green Path, not on path toward Washington St.
  • 11.7 At intersection with Yellow Path, continue straight onto Orange Path.
  • 12.7 Bear left and reconnect with Yellow Path.
  • 13.0 Cross small bridge and bear left, staying on main trail.
  • 13.1 Turn left.
  • 13.3 Bike through Herrick Lake Trailhead and cross Wiesbrook Rd/Herrick Rd at Butterfield Rd.
  • 14.0 Continue straight. Do not turn right under bridge.
  • 14.4 Cross Winfield Rd at Butterfield Rd and turn left onto crushed limestone path along Winfield Rd.
  • 14.5 End ride at parking area of IPP Aurora Branch Winfield Road Trail.
  • Trail map

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    23.541 km / 14.628 mi

    Total Distance

    152 m / 499 ft

    Total Ascent

    152 m / 499 ft

    Total Descent

    243 m / 796 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Gravel
    Various
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: options
    Fitness Level: Medium
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 24.3
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber
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