Big Woods

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.


Natural Scene

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.


Driving Directions

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.


Although Big Woods is undeveloped, the Batavia Spur of the Illinois Prairie Path runs through a southern section of the forest preserve.



You can fish for bluegill and largemouth bass at the 9-acre Poss Lake.

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



The Forest Preserve District acquired the biggest parcel — 362.17 acres — of Big Woods in 1991. The second largest land acquisition came in 1992 when the District bought an additional 78.66 acres.

Between 2000 and 2015, the District acquired an additional 18 acres. Some of the wetland areas in the preserve were mitigated for nearby road and housing developments. 

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