Big Woods Forest Preserve in Aurora is a 459-acre patchwork of prairie and wetland restorations, woodland, swamps shrub meadows, a lake and stream. It is an undeveloped natural area with fishing adjacent to the Batavia Spur of the Illinois Prairie Path.
Several regionally rare plants grow here, such as trailing ground pine, pagoda dogwood and purple duckweed. Due to its diversity of habitats, a variety of birds forage and nest here, including state and regionally rare species such as the least bittern, black-billed cuckoo, pied-billed grebe, American coot and field sparrow.
A total of 187 vertebrate wildlife species have been found here, including beavers, muskrats, deer, masked shrews, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, garter snakes and northern leopard frogs. Poss Lake is an underutilized fishing spot, and recent surveys have found good numbers of bluegill and largemouth bass. Prairie crayfish, giant floaters and red admiral butterflies are some of the many invertebrates that call the site home.
Big Woods is near the intersection of Eola and Ferry roads south of Butterfield Road (Route 56) and west of Route 59 near Warrenville/Aurora. It does not have a parking lot.
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!