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The Forge offers high ropes courses, trails, special events this summer

The 300-acre Forge includes climbing towers, kayaking and trails for biking, hiking and running.

The Forge in Lemont has an eight-tower high ropes course, as well as ziplining and other activities.
The Forge in Lemont has an eight-tower high ropes course, as well as ziplining and other activities.
Nichole Shaw/Sun-Times

Omar Rodriguez wore his quarantine pants to the Forge, an outdoor adventure park in Lemont, and after three hours of climbing high ropes courses in the simmering 90-degree heat, they were slick with sweat.

“It was definitely a really cool experience, but I recommend wearing shorts,” said Rodriguez, 26, from Park Forest.

It was the first time Rodriguez had been climbing and his girlfriend, Carol McNeal, 22, tagged along. Besides the ropes course, both flew across a quarry lake on the Forge’s 1,100-foot zip line.

“Being strapped up gets rid of the fear when you’re that high,” Rodriguez said.

Besides ropes courses and zip lines, options at the 300-acre Forge include climbing towers, laser tag, canoeing, kayaking, yoga and trails for biking, hiking and running. There also are special concerts and festivals throughout the year.

The Forge outdoor adventure park features an eight tower high ropes course, zip lining, paddlesports and more, which guests participated in on Monday, July 26 at 1001 Main Street, Lemont, Illinois.
The Forge outdoor adventure park features an eight tower high ropes course, ziplines, canoes, kayaks and more.
Nichole Shaw/Sun-Times

The park opened last July during the pandemic and has seen a steady buildup of guest registration, especially with availability of the vaccine increasing.

At the Forge “anyone of any age or ability can come out and experience authentic outdoor recreation and personal challenge in a friendly environment,” said co-founder Jeremie Bacon. “So basically, it’s a place to come to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, but you know, but be surrounded by people who are like-minded and have a sense of community.”

The park is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday for special concerts, gourmet dining, and night climbing. An art walk featuring Chicago artists is scheduled for Aug. 22.

The Forge outdoor adventure park in Lemont features a high ropes course, kayaks, canoes, ziplines and other activities. Photographed on Monday, July 26, 2021.
Kayaks and canoes also are offered at the Forge, and visitors can ride a zipline over the lake that now fills the quarry.
Nichole Shaw/Sun-Times

Julian Brodsky, a 13-year-old summer camper, zip lined from one side of the park to the other in the morning to start his day before trying out the kayaks and then arts and crafts.

“Zip lining is really windy,” Julian said. “It’s kind of nerve-racking getting up there, but once you’re on the line you go pretty fast — and it’s really cool. The zip line is my favorite part of camp, because I like being really high and flying down.”

Admission to the park is free, with activities priced individually. Special opportunities include a $70 zip line, climb and dine package popular among young adults from the city. The Forge also offers a night climbing program at $50, almost half the price of a $90 day pass, which gives full access to all activities.

The Two Towers Adventure course at the Forge in Lemont.
The Two Towers Adventure course at the Forge in Lemont.
Nichole Shaw/Sun-Times

“The last couple years and the pandemic, too, reminded me of how important it is to get back out in natural spaces and connect with the environment,” said Kyla Muhammad, 40, from Bolingbrook.

“The more you’re outdoors, the more you observe things, which is what I’m trying to help my kids understand. The Forge checked all the boxes for a novel outdoor experience. What was especially nice is that they have training courses to let people try out new things safely before engaging in activities full-on.”

Her 7-year-old son, Hasan, said his favorite part of the Forge was racing his older brother on a two-tower adventure that featured circular rungs.

“I’m the snake from Chinese astrology and also a scorpion, and I felt like I was those signs when I slithered up and down the circle rings,” Hasan said.

The Muhammad family from Bolingbrook (from left): Saeed, 10; Hasan, 7; Kylah, 40; and Rasheed, 42. The family visited the Forge in Lemont in July, where Hasan’s favorite activity was racing Saeed on the Two Tower Adventure course.
The Muhammad family from Bolingbrook (from left): Saeed, 10; Hasan, 7; Kylah, 40; and Rasheed, 42. The family visited the Forge in Lemont in July, where Hasan’s favorite activity was racing Saeed on the Two Tower Adventure course.
Nichole Shaw/Sun-Times

Here are some other adventure opportunities in or near Chicago:

  • Go Ape
    Western Springs
    Actitivties: zip lining, high ropes courses and axe throwing
    Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day
    Phone: (800) 971-8271
  • Boundless Adventures
    Bristol, Wisconsin
    Activities: zip lining, high ropes courses and night climbing
    Hours: Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Phone: (262) 287-0933
  • Edge Adventures Rum Village Aerial Park
    South Bend, Indiana
    Activities: zip lining and high ropes courses
    Hours: Wednesday through Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Tuesday
    Phone: (800) 590-8347
  • Ultimate Ninjas
    2916 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago
    Activities: America Ninja Warrior indoor obstacle courses and gym space
    Hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Phone: (773) 877-3524
  • Brooklyn Boulders
    100 S. Morgan St., Chicago
    Activities: indoor rock climbing and fitness classes
    Hours: Monday and Friday noon to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Phone: (312) 268-0002