Whether you rent one of our boats or bring your own, you can enjoy several DuPage forest preserves from the water.



Boat Rentals

You can rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats with cash or credit card at Blackwell and Herrick Lake.

Rowboat, canoe or kayak
Boat with trolling motor (Blackwell only)
$10 per hour
$15 per hour

2018 Schedule Rentals end one hour before closing.

April 7 – May 27 (Blackwell) Saturdays & Sundays 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
May 5 – May 27 (Herrick Lake) Saturdays & Sundays 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Memorial Day – Labor Day Saturdays & Sundays 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Opens 8 a.m. Memorial Day, July 4 & Labor Day
Sept. 8 – 30 Saturdays & Sundays 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.


Bringing Your Own Boat

You can use your own watercraft on four forest preserve lakes.

Silver Lake at Blackwell (boat ramp)
Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake  (carry-in only)
Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake (carry-in only)
Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch (carry-in only)

The rules and regulations section has complete details, but you basically need four things:

The Right Kind of Boat
Nongasoline-powered boats, canoes, kayaks, or multichambered inflatables with factory-installed hardened floors and transoms less than 20 feet long (sailboats on Silver Lake, too) are allowed.

An Illinois Water Usage Stamp or State Registration
You can buy water usage stamps at sporting goods stores or at Visitor Services at 3S580 Naperville Road in Wheaton Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For complete state boating requirements, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources boating webpage.

A Forest Preserve District Private Boating Permit
DuPage resident      $35 per year or $7 per day
Nonresident              $45 per year or $9 per day

You can purchase daily permits with cash at lockboxes at each launch site and with cash or credit card at the Blackwell boat rental building, when open.

Annual permits are valid January – December only and are available at the Blackwell boat rental building and online.

For other options, download our private boating permit application (PDF)  or call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The Right PFDs
You need one well-fitting, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board, and children under 13 must wear theirs at all times. If you’re in a canoe or kayak, the Forest Preserve District requires you to wear a PFD regardless of your age.


Private Boating Rules & Regulations

For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, you must follow these rules and regulations.
  • You must have either a valid daily private boating permit in your possession or a valid annual permit affixed to the bow of your craft above the water line.
  • If you have a canoe, kayak, paddleboat or rowboat, you must also have either an Illinois Department of Natural Resources water usage stamp or IDNR registration affixed to the bow. If your watercraft has a motor, you must have an IDNR registration. 
  • You can only boat on four forest preserve lakes: Silver Lake at Blackwell, Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake, Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch. You must be off the water by sunset and can only boat on Silver Lake March 1 – Nov. 30.
  • Your watercraft must be under 20 feet long. Boats, canoes, kayaks, multichambered inflatables with factory-installed hardened floors and transoms, and paddle boats with foot wells are allowed on all four lakes. Sailboats are only allowed on Silver Lake. Sailboards or surfboards (floating devices without foot wells or railings), rafts, pontoons, or pontoon-like paddle boats are not allowed on any lake.
  • Your watercraft must be nongasoline-powered. You can use a boat with an attached gas motor, however, if you tilt it in the upright position and remove all fuel tanks and fuel lines.
  • You cannot race, tilt canoes, have boating contests, conduct training procedures, or enter the water from your watercraft.
  • Per federal and state regulations, your watercraft must have one well-fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board, and boaters under 13 must wear their PFDs at all times. Watercraft longer than 16 feet (except canoes and kayaks) must also have at least one Type IV throwable PFD. Per District regulations, boaters of all ages must wear PFDs in private canoes and kayaks.
  • You cannot carry passengers and cargo with a total combined weight that’s greater than your watercraft’s posted safe carrying capacity. You must have the manufacturer’s capacity plate permanently affixed to the watercraft.
  • Use the boat ramp at Silver Lake. At Round Meadow, Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake, you must transport watercraft on or in a vehicle (no trailers) and carry it to the water, where you can launch from any location unless otherwise posted.
  • Illinois law requires that you remove all aquatic plants and animals from all watercraft and equipment before moving watercraft or equipment away from any body of water.
  • You must follow allForest Preserve District of DuPage County ordinances, state statutes and administrative orders.

Boating on Rivers

You do not need a Forest Preserve District permit to boat on either branch of the DuPage River, Salt Creek or the Des Plaines River, but you do need an Illinois water usage stamp or state registration. For complete state boating requirements, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources boating webpage.

You can enter these waterways at any practical forest preserve location except The Preserve at Oak Meadows. The District offers easy access to the West Branch DuPage River at Blackwell, Warrenville Grove and McDowell Grove and to Salt Creek at Salt Creek Park, Cricket Creek, Salt Creek Greenway at Hunter Road (take-out only), and Fullersburg Woods near the Graue Mill parking lot.


Zebra Mussels

The Forest Preserve District has found nonnative, invasive zebra mussels in four lakes at three preserves: Deep Quarry and Bass lakes at West Branch, Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake, and Eagle Lake at Hidden Lake. You can help stop their spread no matter where you boat or fish.

  • Remove all plants, animals and mud from boats, equipment and trailers.
  • Drain all water from your boat and gear and dry everything thoroughly with a towel.
  • Empty all bait buckets in garbage cans or dumpsters before leaving the lake. (You can’t see juvenile zebra mussels with the naked eye.)

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!

Reserve Facility
Purchase Permit