Today
Friday, Oct. 31, 2014
Sunrise:
7:36 AM
Sunset:
6:03 PM
 
Hours
Open daily one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset
Stats
Acres
465
Location
Naperville, IL
Trails
6 Miles
Features
Drinking Water
Parking
Latrines
Habitats
Lake/Pond/
Waterway
Prairie/
Grassland
Woodland
Activities
Bicycling Boating Fishing Horseback Riding Picnicking Wildlife Watching Winter Activities
 

McDowell Grove

In the 1930s, McDowell Grove was a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps — a work-relief program part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation — which built bridges, picnic areas, a boathouse, bridle paths and a limestone dam on the West Branch of the DuPage River. During World War II, the site served as a secret installation for developing radar technology.

Today, the 465-acre McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Naperville is comprised of mature woodlands, open fields with eastern bluebirds and Cooper’s hawks, and a floodplain forest with towering butternuts and black maples. It’s recently been the site of a dam- modification project, which will return the stretch of river to a healthier, more natural waterway and improve aquatic habitats.

Starting May 2013, the District and DuPage County Stormwater Management will begin to restore a 3-mile stretch of the West Branch of the DuPage River. All trails will remain open but visitors should use caution near construction areas. For a map and more information, click here.

Recreation

Picnicking

Picnickers can reserve either the 25-person shelter along the river or the 150-person picnic area to the southeast through Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 but must do so at least three business days before their visit.

Ground fires are prohibited, but visitors may bring their own grills and use the on-site hot-coal disposal containers.

For everyone’s convenience, McDowell Grove offers a water pump and portable toilets.

Trails

McDowell Grove features nearly 7 miles of looped turf and limestone trails for hikers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and horseback riders. The trails connect to the Regional Trail, which links with four other preserves.

Fishing

Anglers can access the 22-acre Mud Lake and the West Branch of the DuPage River from McDowell Grove Forest Preserve. The state has stocked the river with smallmouth bass for catch-and-release fishing. Anglers will find catfish, bass, carp, sunfish and bluegill in Mud Lake.

Anglers 16 and older who are not legally disabled must have valid Illinois sport fishing licenses in their possession. All anglers must follow all District and state regulations.

Dogs

Dogs are welcome at McDowell Grove but must be on leashes no greater than 10 feet in length.

Boating

Paddlers can access the West Branch of the DuPage River near the Fawell Dam. They can reach the put-in and take-out sites via a gravel access road off Raymond Drive. Parking is not available at this location.

Watercraft must have valid Illinois Department of Natural Resources registrations. Federal and state regulations require that watercraft contain one well-fitting, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each member on board and that children under 13 wear their PFDs at all times.

Notice to Boaters: Because of flood-control and restoration work along the West Branch of the DuPage River, the river is closed between Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove forest preserves. Visit “Plans and Projects” for details.

Accessibility

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is committed to making its facilities accessible to all visitors. For special accessibility needs or concerns, please contact the District's ADA coordinator at (630) 933-7683 or
TTY (800) 526-0857 at least three business days in advance of your visit.

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