Mallard Lake offers families fresh air, sunshine, and beautiful views! Mallard Lake is DuPage County’s largest recreational lake in the forest preserve district. We spent the whole morning walking, fishing, and soaking in the lake breeze and wetland views. We have the whole scoop on all the activities to enjoy at this nature preserve!
Mallard Lake in Hanover Park
Mallard Lake’s main parking lot is off of Schick Road, just west of Gary Avenue. A second lot is on Greenbrook Boulevard 0.6 mile east of County Farm Road. We parked in the main lot, which is set back from the road about 1/2 mile, and there was ample parking.
The forest preserve offers walking paths, hiking off trail in the wetlands, fishing, biking, and canoeing. We spent our morning walking and fishing. My kids can’t wait to come back and try boating… I guess now we need a kayak or canoe!
Mallard Lake trails are gravel, so I brought my jogging stroller. The gravel paths include 4 miles of trails, including a 2.5-mile trail system with a boardwalks for bird watching. My kids walked a ton, loved looking over the bridges at the water, and then jumped in the stroller for a break. There were many bikers, but remember if the paths are gravel and could be difficult for a young rider.
The paths connect to Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve, the North Central DuPage Regional Trail and the Bartlett Park District trail system.
Mallard Lake has dozens of picnic tables and grassy areas where you can spread a blanket. We saw lots of families using the picnic tables, but we opted for a shady spot under the trees along of the trails. There are 948 acres of land to explore, so it was easy to find a spot just for ourselves.
As of July 10, groups can also reserve the 50-person picnic shelter. Details are the DuPage Forest Preserve District’s Picnicking page.
The bathrooms were closed, but the port-o-potty door padlock was unlocked. I would recommend going to the bathroom before you head to the preserve.
Mallard Lake was so clear, you could see the fish in the water! We stood at the water’s edge, in a sandy area, and our kids loved fishing. My two year old’s idea of fishing was to throw a cheddar goldfish in the water and watch the little fish jump and nibble it. My six and four year olds brought their fishing poles and tried to catch something bigger. The lake has largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill, crappie, northern pike, and muskie.
Kids under 16, do not need a fishing license, but all adults do. Check out our fishing page for how to get a license and what supplies you need to fish!
Mallard Lake offers recreational boating in your canoe, kayak or other select nongasoline-powered watercraft. We saw lots of kayaks on the water. You need to bring your own watercraft, life vest, and paddle. There is no cost to launch, but need to have a Forest Preserve District permit to boat.
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Hours: Open daily from one hour after sunrise until sunset.
If you are looking for more nature preserves to enjoy, look at Kidlist’s best trails for kids for more ideas!