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 with a Forest Preserve District private boating permit.  

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)

Boating is also allowed on either branch of the DuPage River, Salt Creek or the Des Plaines River (no permit needed).

The rules and regulations section has complete details.

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, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. or Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. through Aug. 30.


Private Boating Rules & Regulations

For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, you must follow these rules and regulations.
  • Boating is only allowed on four DuPage forest preserve waters: Silver Lake at Blackwell, Round Meadow Lake at Hidden Lake, Mallard Lake at Mallard Lake and Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch.
  • Silver Lake has a boat launch, which is open March 1 – Nov. 30. The other three lakes are carry-in only. At these three, you must manually move your watercraft from the parking lot to the water. If you're using a trailer, you must unhitch it and park it in its own individual parking space.
  • You must have either a valid annual Forest Preserve District private boating permit affixed to the bow of your craft above the waterline or a receipt for a daily permit.
  • Your watercraft must have a valid hull identification number (HIN).
  • You cannot use gas motors, but you can use electric motors. If your craft has any kind of motor, however, it must also have the proper state registration.
  • Inflatable watercraft must have multiple air chambers and either 1) certification by the National Marine Manufacturers Association or the Coast Guard through the manufacturer or 2) factory-made hardened floors.
  • The following watercraft are not allowed: crafts over 20 feet long, paddleboards, float tubes, and floating devices without foot wells or railings.
  • Per federal and state regulations, watercraft must have one properly fitting, wearable, Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device for each person on board. Watercraft 16 feet or longer must also have a Coast Guard-approved throwable flotation device.
  • Boaters under 13 years old must wear their personal flotation devices at all times. In addition, per Forest Preserve District regulations, all boaters regardless of age must wear their personal flotation devices in canoes, kayaks, sailboats and inflatable watercraft.
  • You cannot carry passengers and cargo with a total combined weight greater than your watercraft's posted safe-carrying capacity. The manufacturer's capacity plate must be permanently affixed to your watercraft.
  • You must be off the water by sunset.
  • Swimming or entering the water from your watercraft is strictly prohibited.
  • Per Illinois law, when you leave the water you must remove all aquatic plants and animals from your watercraft and any other equipment before leaving the shore.
  • In addition to these rules and regulations you must also follow all state statutes and all Forest 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. 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