Forest Preserves +
Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve
FEATURES: 42 ACRES
LeRoy Oakes is made-up of a high-quality prairie, woodland, and Ferson Creek, which meanders through the preserve. In addition, contained within the preserve is a true prairie relic (the Murray prairie), various restorations (including the Bob Horlock area), flood plain forests, seeps, oak woodlands and grassy fields. The only native colony of Speckled Alder is growing here. Amenities include bike & nature trails, camping, fishing, historic sites, horseback riding, picnic areas, and shelters.
Fox River Bluff (East) Forest Preserve
5N860 Weber Drive, St. Charles
Fox River Bluff Forest Preserve straddles the Fox River in St. Charles. East of the river, the preserve is referred to as Fox River Bluff Forest Preserve.
The wooded portion of the preserve, located south of Red Gate Road, is known as Norton Woods. This 31-acre portion was a donation to the Forest Preserve District in memory of Carol Ann Buck. This extraordinary gift is exceptional not only for the generosity but also for the unusual land form. It contains the mouth of Norton Creek and it is the point at which the Newark Valley rock formation is exposed to the surface. Norton Creek twists and turns in oxbow formation as it winds through the floodplain forest to the Fox River.
Fox River Bluff (West) Forest Preserve
5N753 IL Route 31, St. Charles
Fox River Bluff straddles the Fox River in St. Charles. The portion on Route 31, along the west shoreline of the Fox River, is known as Fox River Bluff West Forest Preserve.
Among the first things you'll notice at this popular preserve are dogs. This preserve is one of the District's approved off-leash dog areas. Owners are welcome to walk (or run!) up to three dogs at one time here. We ask owners to kindly keep dogs on leash while walking to/from vehicles, and while crossing the bicycle bridge over the Fox River. A full list of Rules & Regulations for use of the Off-Leash Dog Area is available.
Pedestrians and bicyclists also use this preserve to traverse the Fox River and connect with the Fox River Trail, on the east side of the river, which runs through Fox River Bluff (East) Forest Preserve.
Red Oak Nature Center
FEATURES: Nestled on the east bank of the Fox River in Batavia, Red Oak Nature Center is the region’s premier facility for nature and conservation education. Surrounded by more than 40 acres of lush forest and wildlife habitat, the nature center is the ideal destination for anyone with a desire to discover more about the great outdoors. Follow the Fox River Trail down to the river’s edge to explore the Chicagoland area’s only known cave – a true gem of the Fox Valley!
Dick Young Forest Preserve
39W115 Main St., Batavia
Dick Young Forest Preserve comprises some of Kane County's finest wetlands, woodlands and prairie. Together, these create an ecological complex that supports a great diversity of animals and plants, including several threatened, rare and endangered species.
Whether walking, cycling, or riding horseback, visitors may see wildlife as diverse as pelicans and mink. Flora from pondweed to oak trees will please plant enthusiasts.
This preserve includes a horseback riding area. Most horse trails are natural surface, mowed grass paths. Limestone screenings trails and asphalt bike trails are available in some of the preserves. These are multi-use trails shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers etc. Horse riders are required to stay on designated, forest preserve-maintained trails. Trail riding is not allowed in restricted natural areas, Illinois Nature Preserves, picnic areas or in farmed areas. To prevent trail damage during wet weather, trails may be temporarily closed. Individual forest preserves will post a sign at the entrance when horse trails are closed. Trails are currently OPEN for equestrian use at this preserve.
Les Arends Forest Preserve
2S731 Route 31, Batavia
This small preserve in Batavia protects over 3,600 feet of Fox River shoreline. The paved Fox River Regional Bike trail runs the length of the preserve, and several floodplain islands provide excellent habitat for fishing.
Outcroppings of dolomite bedrock can be seen at various points along the trail, adding a picturesque charm to the landscape. Les Arends is partly wooded, with some nice specimen of White and Chinkapin Oak. Mill Creek feeds into the Fox River in the southern portion of the preserve.
Les Arends is off Route 31, north of Mooseheart Road and south of the city of Batavia.
Peck Farm Park
FEATURES: With five different paths varying in length, and all connecting to make for a longer route, there are plenty of scenic views here! Natural prairie, beautiful native wildflowers, and even a large lake to gaze at! Hawk's Hallow Nature Playground is open year round and the water feature is on from Memorial Day to Labor Day (have kiddos bring swimsuits and watershoes)!
Pratt's Wayne Woods
FEATURES: Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve is the largest forest preserve in the county. It offers great fishing and a place to fly model planes and is home to the Brewster Creek Marsh Nature Preserve. The preserve is located on the outwash plain of the West Chicago Moraine. Made up largely of wetlands, this landscape combines calcium-rich water with wet sandy soil to support plant life more commonly seen near Lake Michigan.
Campton Hills Forest Preserve
4N379 Town Hall Rd., St. Charles
The trails at Campton Forest Preserve are multi-use, natural surface, mowed-grass paths shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers, birdwatchers and horse riders. Equestrian use is permitted here and there is a trailer parking area. There is a picnic shelter, ample parking and restrooms. Campton Forest Preserve is also home to to the District's Trades Division. In winter months, snowmobiling is permitted here on internal, marked trails.
West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve
The 358-acre West Chicago Prairie Forest Preserve in West Chicago is one of the region’s premier natural areas. It contains over 600 species of native plants and animals. Many volunteers invest their time and energy to help protect the ecological health of this rare Illinois ecosystem, offering the Forest Preserve District assistance in caring for the natural area.
West Chicago Prairie contains no large picnic areas or fishing lakes, unlike other forest preserves. Visitors have a unique opportunity to enjoy a tranquil walk through one of the state’s rarest — and richest — prairie ecosystems. The Forest Preserve District and West Chicago Park District jointly own 115 acres of West Chicago Prairie.
In addition to wetlands and upland oak savannas, the preserve is home to one of the most biologically diverse sites in northeastern Illinois, the 126-acre Truitt-Hoff Nature Preserve. It is one of eight state-designated nature preserves in DuPage County owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District.
Blackwell Forest Preserve
FEATURES: The 1,366-acre Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville is one of the District's most popular forest preserves and has been repeatedly voted among the best in the western suburbs. It offers fishing, camping, archery, picnic shelters, an off-leash dog area and more. You can walk, jog, bike, cross-country ski or ride horseback on most trails at Blackwell.