Greene Valley

Greene Valley

The 1,414-acre Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville is home to more than 540 native plant species, making it one of the county's most botanically diverse sites. On weekends May through October, its 190-foot-tall scenic overlook provides a bird's-eye view of the landscape and the Chicago skyline. It's a great spot to picnic or look for migratory birds. Greene Valley also offers 12 miles of marked trails, picnic shelters, an off-leash dog area, a model craft area, a youth-group campground and more.

 

Natural Scene

Greene Valley boasts a high-quality oak woodland north of 79th Street, an area one former owner set aside for plant and animal conservation more than 50 years ago. Native wildflowers provide spectacular spring displays.

The savanna between Greene Road and the East Branch DuPage River and the aged oak woodland in the youth-group campground are excellent examples of how plant communities looked in DuPage County more than a century ago.

Greene Valley is also home to more than 370 different kinds of native animals. In its wetlands, waterfowl, herons, egrets and other aquatic life flourish, and choruses of toads and frogs call during the spring breeding season. In its meadows, you may catch a glimpse of a passing coyote or hear the songs of meadowlarks and bobolinks. Walk into the forest, and you just might flush a great horned owl from its roost or startle a white-tailed deer and fawn.

 

Driving Directions

The south parking lot is on Greene Road 0.5 mile south of 79th Street. The lot for the north picnic area and the off-leash dog area is on Greene Road, 0.3 mile north of 75th Street and south of Hobson Road. The Thunderbird Youth Camp is on 79th Street 0.5 mile west of Greene Road.  

Trails

More than three-quarters of Greene Valley’s 12 miles of marked trails are open to hikers, bicyclers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. 

Learn how to identify 11 different trees along the 1-mile self-guided Tree Trek footpath. Find out how to get started at the information sign south of the Thunderbird Road parking lot.

Horseback riders should park their trailers on the west side of Greene Road south of 79th Street and do not ride on the Hawk or Caruso trails or in or around developed recreational areas, such as picnic areas, the youth-group campground and the scenic overlook.

 

Scenic Overlook

The 190-foot-tall scenic overlook offers a bird’s-eye view of DuPage County and the Chicago skyline and is a great place to picnic, look for migrating birds or participate in District programs. A road leads from the base of the hill to a parking lot at the top. In addition to great views, this retired landfill provides energy for thousands of area homes from the methane gas it produces.

The overlook is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday May through October from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., weather permitting. However, due to Illinois Environmental Protection Agency maintenance and construction activities, the overlook may be closed during these times without advanced notice.

 

Picnicking

Greene Valley has dozens of picnic tables and grassy areas where you can spread a blanket. Ground fires are not allowed, but you can bring grills. (The preserve has hot-coal containers for charcoal.)

Groups can reserve the east or west picnic shelters, too. Details are on our Picnicking page.

 

Youth-Group Camping

Greene Valley's youth-group campground has 10 sites. Eight can accommodate up to 25 campers; the other two accommodate 50 and 100.

The campground is open year-round but is for the exclusive use of youth groups, which are defined as recognized, nonprofit organizations whose members are 17 or younger. Only members of qualifying groups with their accompanying leaders may camp here.

 

Off-Leash Dog Area

Enjoy off-leash fun with your four-legged friends at Greene Valley's 16-acre fully fenced off-leash dog area, which has separate areas for small and large dogs, but you need to carry proof of a valid Forest Preserve District permit for each dog you bring. The area is open during regular preserve hours; it is closed Wednesdays until 10 a.m. for routine maintenance. Visit Dogs in the Preserves for rules and permit info.

 

Model-Craft Area

Fly nonpowered model gliders and sailplanes at the designated area on the scenic overlook, when open. Operators must have a valid Forest Preserve District permit in their possession.

 

History

In 1835, William Briggs Greene acquired 200 acres of present-day Greene Valley Forest Preserve from Daniel Greene, his uncle. When surveyors mapped the land in 1840, they reported how they "left Brill's wheat field and entered hazel and red oak brush and scattering timber." This and other descriptions of stunted oak trees mixed with thorn thickets and wooded ravines offer an idea of how the area once looked.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County first purchased land at the site in 1926. An acquisition in 1969 — the same year that the District officially named the property — added the historic Oak Cottage, the 1841 farmhouse that William Greene had built. By the mid-1970s, the District had completed its acquisitions at Greene Valley Forest Preserve.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers scores of nature-related programs and activities for grownups, kids, families and groups year-round. Click below to register for programs, reserve shelters and campsites or purchase permits, and we'll see you soon!

Register
Reserve Facility
Purchase Permit