West Branch

West Branch

The 713-acre West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett features a variety of habitats, plants and animals. Originally purchased to help with flood control, the forest preserve also features a reservoir that collects and naturally filters stormwater.
 

Natural Scene

West Branch contains two lakes, wetlands, a tallgrass meadow, a wet prairie, an immature floodplain forest, and a rare fen and hosts a variety of reptiles, amphibians mammals, and birds, including grassland birds and migrating and nesting shorebirds.

 

Driving Directions

The main entrance is on the south side of Army Trail Road at Gerber Road, 2 miles east of Route 59. Another entrance is on the west side of Fair Oaks Road south of Army Trail Road and north of Lies Road.

Trails

Over 2 miles of trails ideal for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and horseback riding winds through the preserve and connects to the Hawk Hollow Preserve trail system to the north.

Fishing

The 40-acre Deep Quarry Lake has two fishing piers and a maximum depth of 45 feet; 15-acre Bass Lake’s deepest point is 30 feet. Both contain bass, sunfish, channel and flathead catfish, carp, bluegill, and crappie.

Night fishing is allowed along the shores of Deep Quarry Lake, but all anglers must be out of the forest preserve by 11 p.m.

The West Branch of the DuPage River snakes through the forest preserve for more than 2 miles, offering scenic beauty for all visitors in addition to ample fishing opportunities. 

Anglers 16 or older who are not legally disabled must carry valid Illinois fishing licenses. Creel limits, minimum lengths and other regulations are on our Fishing page.

 

Boating

You can explore Deep Quarry Lake in your canoe, kayak or other select nongasoline-powered watercraft but need to have a Forest Preserve District permit in your possession.

 

History

Before settlement, the preserve was made up of prairie, wet/marshy prairie and scattering timber surrounding the West Branch of the DuPage River. The preserve was primarily under cultivation. Miles of drain tiles were installed and drained into the river. Several home sites dotted the landscape, including the Baker Homestead, still standing along St. Charles Road near Prince Crossing Road.

The bulk of the preserve was purchased in the mid-1970s, with parcels added in the intervening decades.

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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