Wildlife Watching

One of the great benefits of DuPage County’s open spaces is watching wildlife. Each DuPage County forest preserve features its own mix of resident native wildlife.

To view a list of animals that live in DuPage County’s forest preserves, visit DuPage Plants and Wildlife.

Wildlife Watching Areas

With the help of a good field guide and the list of habitats provided, visitors can pick forest preserves with the best surroundings for spotting favorite species.

Forest Preserve

Surface

Habitats

Map

Belleau Woods    

no developed trails

L,W

NA

Big Woods

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Blackwell

limestone

L,P,WT,W

   

Brush HIll

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Churchill Woods

limestone,turf

L,P,W

 

Country Lakes

no developed trails

WT

NA

Cricket Creek

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Danada

limestone, wood chip

L,P,WT,W

 

Des Plaines Riverway

no developed trails

L,P,W

NA

Dunham

no developed trails

L,P,WT

NA

East Branch

mowed

L,P,WT,W

 

Egermann Woods

mowed

L,P,WT,W

NA

Fischer Woods

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Fox Hollow

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Fullersburg Woods*  

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Fullerton Park

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Greene Valley

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Hawk Hollow

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Herrick Lake

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Hickory Grove

no developed trail

L,P,WT,W

NA

Hidden Lake

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Mallard Lake

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Maple Grove

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Mayslake

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

McDowell Grove

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Meacham Grove

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Night Heron Marsh    

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

Oldfield Oaks

limestone

L,P,WT,W

NA

Pratt's Wayne Woods

limestone, turf

L,P,WT,W

 

Salt Creek Greenway

limestone

L,P,WT,W

NA

Salt Creek Marsh

limestone

L,P,WT,W

NA

Salt Creek Park

turf

L,P,WT,W

 

Songbird Slough

paved road

L,P,WT,W

 

Spring Creek Reservoir

asphalt

L,P,WT,W

 

Springbrook Prairie

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Swift Prairie

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

 Timber Ridge*  

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Warrenville Grove

limestone

L,P,WT,W

NA

 Waterfall Glen*  

limestone, wood chip

L,P,WT,W

 

Wayne Grove

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

West Branch

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

West Chicago Prairie

turf, wood chip

L,P,WT,W

 

West DuPage Woods

limestone, turf

L,P,WT,W

 

Willowbrook

limestone

L,P,WT,W

 

Winfield Mounds

wood chip

L,P,WT,W

NA

Wood Dale Grove

limestone, wood chip

L,P,WT,W

 

Wood Ridge

no developed trails

L,P,WT,W

NA

York/High Ridge

no developed trails

L,P,W

NA

York Woods

asphalt

L,P,W

 

L Lake/Pond/Waterway    P Prairie    WT Wetland    W Woodland 

*District Alert -- please visit the corresponding Forest Preserve to learn more.

Wildlife Watching Guidelines

  • The use of Forest Preserve District trails does not require a permit or have an associated fee.
  • The best time to view wildlife in action is early morning and early evening.
  • Move slowly, and wear clothing compatible with the surroundings.
  • Observe animals carefully, and learn to recognize when you are starting to influence their behavior so you can pull back.
  • Never disturb nesting sites; observe them from a distance.
  • Sightings of unusual birds are a thrill; but to protect rare species from the potentially harmful stresses of excessive human disturbances, knowledgeable birders often refrain from sharing specific locations. They instead give general guidelines that help others find the birds themselves.
  • Sitting patiently and letting wildlife approach is a successful practice of ethical wildlife watchers and photographers alike.
  • Optical devices, such as binoculars, spotting scopes and telephoto lenses, allow disturbance-free viewing and photography from a distance.
  • The best photographs are of undisturbed animals taken from blinds or at the end of a careful stalk by a camouflaged photographer.
  • Step carefully if you leave marked trails to pursue animal paths.
  • Look for animal tracks. Learning to read them is an enjoyable skill in itself.
  • If you come across an injured wild animal and are concerned, leave it alone, and call the Willowbrook Wildlife Center 24-hour automated phone line at (630) 942-6200. This wildlife rehabilitation and education center is owned and operated by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and is open every day, except major holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • “DuPage County Forest Preserve Trails” contains maps for 21 forest preserves and one state park. E-mail forest@dupageforest.org or call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248 for a free printed copy, or download Forest Preserve Trails Guide.
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