Homer Lake is one of the best local hiking and paddling spots. It's an easy 30 minute drive from C-U, and boasts about 15 miles of hiking trails and a lake that's large enough to warrant exploring in a canoe or kayak (electric motors only!). There is a large wooded area as well as some meadow and prairie, and the hiking trails are very flat, well maintained, and interconnected enough to allow hikers to choose a distance that is comfortable for them.
If you crave woodland, this is a great place to get your dose of that great feeling of being surrounded by trees. The lake offers gorgeous scenery, and the woods and meadows are full of birds. In an afternoon, I saw flickers, bluebirds, grasshopper sparrows, towhees, and a red-tailed hawk circling.
The interpretive nature center hosts programs for families as well as survival skills training courses, night hikes, and star watching. Visit the Champaign County Forest Preserves' website to find out about upcoming events and register to attend.
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