Belleau Woods Forest Preserve in Wheaton is a 121-acre nature oasis. The preserve features woodland, shrub meadows, vernal ponds and a small stream. Because of its sensitive habitat, there are no designated District trails within Belleau Woods Forest Preserve. In accordance with the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act, bicycles and horses are not allowed at the preserve. Pets must remain on the unmaintained footpath..
Three hundred species of native plants grow among an upland oak forest, floodplain forest, prairie and small stream, which have remained undeveloped since the Forest Preserve District acquired the land in 1965.
The forest preserve is a fine example of mesic upland woodland with majestic oaks and a variety of wildflowers, such as white trout lily, wild geranium and white avens. Eighteen types of woodland birds, including many state and regionally rare species, nest and breed here, including red-headed woodpeckers, northern flickers and white-breasted nuthatches. Southern flying squirrels, beavers, deer, garter snakes, bullfrogs and American toads call the forest preserve home as do dozens of other types of wildlife and untold numbers of insects.
Belleau Woods is on Belleau Woods Drive, which is off Schaffner Road and south of Roosevelt Road (Route 38). It does not have a parking lot.
Because of its sensitive habitat, Belleau Woods does not have designated trails.
In accordance with the Illinois Natural Areas Preservation Act, bicycles and horses are not allowed in the land and water reserve and pets must remain on the unmaintained footpaths.
Belleau Woods was owned by the wealthy McCormick family, who used the property for recreational pursuits such as nature trail hikes and horseback riding. The 0.2-acre “gun pit” south of Roosevelt Road was excavated by the McCormicks sometime before 1932. It is approximately 8 to 10 feet deep.
The McCormicks donated this property to the Illinois National Guard in 1947. In 1965 the land was given to the Forest Preserve District. Additional acquisitions have been made in the intervening years, particularly north of Roosevelt Road.
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!