|Alert: Construction to replace the toilet at the Sterling Lake boat launch will begin in late July. The current facility will be in operation until the new toilet is in place. Please exercise caution in this area.
An oak forest, 86-acre Sterling Lake and the Des Plaines River provide a picturesque backdrop for a variety of outdoor recreation activities at this preserve.
Five miles of trails are open to hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers. The Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) bisects the preserve and is also open to snowmobilers. It's accessible from the preserve trails or from the trailhead at the Russell Road entrance.
Sterling Lake offers a wheelchair accessible floating dock, two fishing piers, and a boat ramp and sand launch area for cartop boats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards or other small watercraft. Launching is free and at your own risk. You'll need approved flotation gear and your boat must be properly registered with the state of Illinois. Trailers are permitted but parking is limited to the grass overflow parking lot. Electric trolling motors are allowed.
A rustic youth group campground that can be reserved for organized youth groups of up to 60 is located on the preserve's northern end. The site has a water pump, fire rings, firewood, parking and toilets.
Model aircraft enthusiasts will enjoy a nearby flying field, which includes a windsock, spectator area, toilets, drinking water and parking. A permit and current AMA license is required.