Springbrook Prairie

Springbrook Prairie

The 1,829-acre Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve in Naperville is a birder's paradise in addition to offering trails, picnicking areas, an off-leash dog area, model craft field and state-designated nature preserve and land and water reserve. It offers some of the best displays of summertime blooms. 

 

Natural Scene

Springbrook Prairie hosts one of three regionally significant grassland bird communities in the state and home to meadowlarks, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, woodcocks and bobolinks as well as state-endangered northern harriers, short-eared owls, and Henslow’s sparrows.

Restoration work along Spring Brook added more-natural twists and turns to the waterway and created a wider, shallower bank along the stream. These changes have slowed the flow of water, improved aquatic habitat, and allowed the brook to more easily pour over its banks and into the preserve during heavy rains.

Springbrook Prairie contains the largest grassland community in DuPage County and has one of the healthiest streams in the area.

In 1993 the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission gave 1,650 acres of the forest preserve an extra level of protection by designating it as the Springbrook Prairie Nature Preserve and Springbrook Marsh Land & Water Reserve.

 

Driving Directions

The main parking lot, trailhead and off-leash dog area are on the north side of 83rd Street 0.5 mile west of Book Road. Additional parking and the model-craft area are on the west side of Plainfield-Naperville Road 0.5 mile south of 75th Street and east of Route 59.

Trails

Explore Springbrook Prairie on foot, bicycle, cross-country skis or horseback along 7 miles of trails, including the nationally designated Springbrook Prairie Regional Trail.

You can also explore 2 miles of narrow, mowed trails (no bicycles, though) on the east side of Plainfield/Naperville Road, but sections may close during key bird breeding seasons to protect critical nesting habitats.

In accordance with the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act, bicycles, pets and horses must remain on the limestone trail within the nature preserve and land and water reserve areas.

 

Picnicking

Springbrook Prairie has several picnic tables and grassy areas where you can spread a blanket. There's also a small nonreservable shelter on the west side of Plainfield-Naperville Road near the parking lot. Ground fires are not allowed, but you can bring grills. (The preserve has hot-coal containers for charcoal.)

Groups can reserve the picnic shelter on 83rd Street as well. Details are on our Picnicking page.

 

Off-Leash Dog Area

Enjoy off-leash fun with your four-legged friends at Springbrook Prairie's fully fenced off-leash dog area, but you need to carry proof of a valid Forest Preserve District permit for each dog you bring. Visit Dogs in the Preserves for rules and permit info. The area is open during regular preserve hours; it is closed on Thursdays until 10 a.m. for routine maintenance.

 

Model-Craft Area

If you enjoy flying model planes or drones, you can do so at the at the airfield on the west side of Plainfield/Naperville Road but must have a valid Forest Preserve District permit in your possession.

 

History

Before the District acquired Springbrook Prairie between 1974 and 2002, DuPage County farmers cultivated the parcel's rich soil for many decades. Springbrook Prairie was once slated to be the site of a 200-acre dragon-shaped lake with a swim beach and campground. Naperville residents and forest preserve neighbors played an important role in keeping this preserve a vast and open landscape.

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!
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Reserve Facility
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