your paddlesports destination

Sterling Lake (Van Patten Woods) in Illinois

Trip Overview

Until just recently, no privately-owned canoes or kayaks were allowed on lakes within the Lake County Forest Preserve District properties. The District changed the policy, and now we can paddle here!

This 74-acre lake is surrounded by grassy picnic and marshy areas. Open April - October, 6:30AM - sunset.


Picnic tables, water wells, pit toilets, hiking trails, fishing, and close to the Des Plaines River.


State boat registration is required, and the ranger who checks fishing licenses also looks for boat tags.


The entrance to Van Patten Woods is on IL Rte 173, about 1/4 mile east of US Rte 41. Follow the road as it curves left, then wraps right around the lake. The Put-In is at the concession stand.


Lake County Forest Preserve
Tel: 847-367-6640

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip