Growing up in Lemont, our go-to sledding hill was The Bowl. I’m also very aware of the popular Swallow’s Cliff (which used to be home to toboggon slides, but now feature some sledding and a good workout).
I had no idea that the DuPage County Forest Preserve is home to a snow tube slide…and that it’s made from literally garbage (more on that below)!
In the heart of the active Blackwell forest preserve sits Mount Hoy. And it’s from the top of this “mountain” is 800 feet of snowy, sliding goodness! There’s a map of it’s exact location down at the bottom of this story.
Now, you must know that you can not bring your own tubes. You must rent tubes from the forest preserve at the bottom of the hill. Each tube costs $10 and it’s yours for the day. Credit cards are accepted. Check out more about what is and isn’t allowed on their FAQ page.
The tubing hill is open on weekends and school holidays when there is at least 3″ of snow on the ground. Inclimate weather may also shut down the hill, like winter storms or extreme cold below 10-degree windchills. Hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and rentals end at 3:30 p.m. Before heading out to the hill, check out their Facebook page to find out if it’s open. You can also sign up to get text alerts when the hill will be open by texting TUBING to 866-743-7332.
It’s named Mt. Hoy for the the Hoy family that originally settled the land that became a gravel quarry, and later the Blackwell Preserve. The hill in question is not a naturall hill, but a trash heap, for all intents are purposes!
From the Warrenville Historical Society:
In the early 1960s the DuPage County Forest Preserve set to capitalize on Warrenville’s recreational reputation by remaking a worked-out gravel pit that occupied land originally settled by the Hoy family into a fine recreation area that would be known as the Blackwell Preserve. In 1964 when the remaining gravel was sold to pay for construction of the preserve, clay that was found under the gravel proved to have little to no value. This clay became the heart of a plan to build a large hill that would serve as the centerpiece of Blackwell.
Starting in 1965 trash collection agencies and community members were invited to drop off junk and other discarded garbage items. At the end of each day county workers spread the clay, which they had excavated, onto the growing pile of garbage named Mount Hoy after the pioneering family.
Mount Hoy quickly earned its nickname of Mount Trashmore. As the Chicago Tribune article in 1973 announcing the competition of the project read, the hope was to create a popular ski destination by literally “turning garbage to ski slopes.” Although the idea seems a bit farfetched, the City of Evanston was undertaking a similar project and many were trying to convince the City of Chicago to do the same thing.
Overall three millions cubic yards of garbage and clay went into Mount Hoy, becoming a 150 foot hill. By 1974 Mount Trashmore was supposed to host four ski slopes, a snow machine and a chair lift along with two toboggan slides, however a less elaborate setup welcomed skiers and tubers to the area.
The plan for preventing contaminated groundwater by encasing the garbage in the clay also failed and in 1990 the Environmental Protection Agency enrolled the site in the Superfund Program due to the presence of contaminated groundwater. The EPA cleanup repaired the landfill cap, installed an extraction system, treated and disposed of the landfill leachate, and installed additional landfill gas vents successfully allowing winter sports and tubing to continue to this day. In September of 2020 the EPA deleted the site from its National Priorities List.
Here’s where it is!