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