At Pratt’s Wayne Woods, visitors can enjoy hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and horseback riding on more than 12 miles of forest preserve trails. A stretch of the Illinois Prairie Path Elgin Branch cuts through the preserve as well.
In accordance with the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act, dogs and bicycles are not allowed within the Brewster Creek Marsh Nature Preserve.
License agreements and special use permits allow the use of a portion of the nature preserve buffer area only for special equestrian events.
When conditions permit, rangers groom trails for cross-country skiing. Classical cross-country skiers should use the set of tracks on the outside of the trail, leaving the inside for freestyle skiers and other trail users.
Horseback riders should park their trailers in the gravel lot on the east side of Powis Road and should not ride in developed recreational areas, such as picnic areas and campgrounds.
The Wayne-DuPage Hunt Club has been riding in the area for over 100 years and continues to host equestrian events at the forest preserve. As a result of these events and other horse trial groups, horse jumps are located throughout the preserve but are only for advanced riders.
Visitors can grab a picnic table or spread a blanket in the mowed grass at several inviting areas throughout Pratt’s Wayne Woods. Picnickers can also reserve a 100-person shelter with a large grill by calling Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 but must do so at least three business days before their visit.
Ground fires are not allowed, but visitors can bring their own grills and use the on-site hot-coal disposal containers by the parking lot. For everyone’s convenience, Pratt’s Wayne Woods offers restrooms with pit toilets on the east side of Pickerel Lake and a portable toilet north of the off-leash dog area.
Pratt’s Wayne Woods offers 58 acres of the finest fishing in the county at Pickerel Lake, Catfish Pond, Horsetail Pond, Beaver Slough and Harrier Lake, which is catch-and-release only. The District periodically stocks all but Beaver Slough with channel catfish and largemouth bass, but all five contain several popular species. In particular, Pickerel Lake, which features limestone shorelines and two fishing piers, offers rainbow trout, northern pike and crappie.
The Forest Preserve District allows ice fishing at Pratt’s Wayne Woods at the angler’s own risk; rangers do not monitor ice conditions. As a guideline, not a guarantee, a minimum of 4 inches of ice is recommended for any ice activity.
Anglers 16 or older who are not legally disabled must carry valid Illinois sport fishing licenses. They also need to carry Inland Trout Stamps in order to take trout from District lakes. Anglers must follow all state and District regulations.
Off-Leash Dog Area
Dogs with valid Forest Preserve District permits can enjoy Pratt’s Wayne Woods’ 23-acre off-leash area through Dec. 31. 2015. It is being replaced with a new 34-acre off-leash dog area at Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve. Rules for the area, which is on the east side of Powis Road south of the model-airplane field, are posted at the preserve. Owners must have their dogs’ permits in their possession when in the off-leash area; dogs must be leashed in all other areas of the preserve. The area is open during regular preserve hours. Owners should call Visitor Services Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (630) 933-7248 for permit applications and information.
Each of Pratt’s Wayne Woods’ two youth-group campsites can accommodate up to 25 campers and has its own picnic tables and fire ring. The sites are close to trails and lakes as well as restrooms with pit toilets, drinking water, trash and recycling containers, and firewood. As part of Districtwide efforts to help slow the spread of the emerald ash borer, outside firewood is not allowed.
Open year-round, these camping areas are set aside for use by youth groups. The District defines youth groups as recognized, nonprofit organizations. Only members of these groups, with their accompanying leaders, may camp in these areas. Camping permits and adult supervision of one leader over 21 years of age for every 10 children are mandatory for campsite use. Groups can reserve sites through Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 but must do so at least three business days in advance.
Operators with valid District permits in their possession can use the model-airplane field on the east side of Powis Road. Annual and daily permits are available through Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.