Scenic overlook provides bird’s-eye vistas

Looking for a little-known outdoor sightseeing gem to spice up a weekend? Great views including the Chicago skyline are afforded from the highest public ground in DuPage County, where weekend access begins May 1.

The DuPage Forest Preserve District’s scenic overlook at Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville provides a bird’s-eye view of DuPage County and the Chicago skyline from 190 feet above the ground, a news release stated.

The overlook will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31, weather permitting, although Illinois Environmental Protection Agency maintenance activities may affect the schedule. The access drive is off Greene Road south of 79th Street. Visitors can park at the summit, where District staff will be on hand to answer questions.

Bird watching

Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars or spotting scopes for views of far-off vistas and migrating birds.

People must wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth and must practice safe social distancing, staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Model craft flying

Visitors with valid District permits can launch nonpowered model gliders and sailplanes from a designated area of the overlook; permits are available online 24/7 or through Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more down-to-earth exploration, hikers and bikers can use the 1.9-mile Hawk Trail, which circles the hill’s base and is open only during the scenic overlook operating hours.

The District periodically opens the scenic overlook for special viewings of a sunrise, sunset or lunar eclipse. Follow @dupageforest on Facebook for notices about these occasions.

The overlook rests on top of a closed landfill, which operated from 1974 to 1996. A gas-to-energy plant converts methane from the landfill into energy, which powers thousands of area homes. Revenue from the landfill’s former disposal operations and the gas-to-energy plants – not tax dollars – funded construction of the recreational improvements, and continue to fund maintenance of the overlook.

The 1,388-acre Greene Valley Forest Preserve is home to more than 370 kinds of native animals, and welcomes picnickers.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County notes it has been connecting people to nature for more than 100 years. More than 6.2 million people visit its 60 forest preserves, 166 miles of trails, six education centers and programs each year.

For information, call 630-933-7200 or visit dupageforest.org.