Whether it’s a fast-pace power walk through a park or like the Italians, an afternoon passeggiata under a canopy of trees there’s no argument that the St. Charles Park District is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic places to stroll.
While many who enjoy walks are creatures of habit, making the same neighborhood loop. Whether you’re looking to change up your average walk or a new place to explore, the park district’s website stcparks.org is a perfect place to start with information on parks and trails including details on distances and if a location is stroller friendly.
“We all know walking is beneficial both physically and mentally,” said Erika Young, public relations and marketing manager with the St. Charles Park District. “It can be a great way to exercise as an individual or spend time together with friends or family.”
When it comes to St. Charles area parks, Pottawatomie Park is the most popular destination with all its amenities. Second on the list for a great stroll is the crowd favorite, Mt. St. Mary Park. Located along the west bank of the Fox River at Route 31 and Prairie Street, the park is an arboretum, containing a variety of trees, plants and flowers for visitors to enjoy. Mt. St. Mary Park hosts the annual Sculpture in the Park exhibit May through September featuring beautiful and unique sculptures. In fact, there’s several sculptures at park sites and downtown St. Charles.
“With miles of trails throughout St. Charles, there is ample opportunity to explore the outdoors with the parks featuring a variety of amenities and attractions,” Young said.
Young said Delnor Woods Park is another favorite spot for walks, giving people an opportunity to enjoy nature, but close enough to downtown St. Charles it’s easy to pair the visit with a stop at a favorite restaurant or shop.
Harley Hawk Story Time is a walk worth checking out especially for the families with early readers. The walk along the gravel walking path outside the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center includes storyboards. Families will find their readers eager to race to the next page to follow the story.
“This is such a great way to enjoy outdoor time,” Young said. “And add to the fun with a stop at the nature playground, a picnic or visit the animal residents inside the nature center.”
Out at James O. Breen Community Park, you can walk up and down the naturally rolling terrain while playing the 9-hole disc golf course for free. The course runs through 6.4 wooded areas along the north side of Campton Hills Road, west of Peck Road. Changes in elevation and the existence of thick groves of trees make this course particularly challenging. Players start each hole at a teeing area and play toward a target “hole,” a metal pole outfitted with an elevated basket. Bring you own equipment.
For those seeking a walking buddy, try the park district’s new Walking Club. The group meets Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. for a walk through a local park, with the park location posted each week at norrisrec.org, organized by the district’s Norris Recreation Center staff. It provides a perfect opportunity to check out new park locations in the company of others and make friends along the way.
“Whether you’re seeking something strenuous or leisurely, the park district has the tools to help you find the perfect walk,” Young said. “All you need is a good pair of walking shoes.”