The 521-acre East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights is largely a natural wetland along the East Branch DuPage River with its lakes, marshes and wildlife habitats. In addition to fishing opportunities, trails for hiking and an off-leash dog area, the preserve provides valuable benefits to the community in the form of stormwater control and improved water quality.
East Branch is an excellent place to observe grassland birds, shorebirds and waterfowl, including spring and fall migrants. It has a wide variety of other native wildlife, too, including white-tailed deer, bald eagles, great blue herons, coyotes and skunks.
The main entrance is on Glen Ellyn Road, 0.25 mile south of Army Trail Road and 2 miles north of North Avenue (Route 64).
Rush Lake and Sunfish Pond can be accessed from the Glen Ellyn Road parking lot, and the off-leash dog area can be accessed from the Swift Road parking lot 1 mile north of North Avenue.
One 2-mile trail and several unmarked footpaths provide visitors with many opportunities to observe everything from white-tailed deer and coyotes to great blue herons and migrant waterfowl.
The picnic area at the Glen Ellyn Road entrance has tables and grassy areas where you can spread a blanket. Ground fires are not allowed, but you can bring grills. (The preserve has hot-coal containers for charcoal.)
Fish for largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill at the 15-acre Rush Lake and 5-acre Sunfish Pond but cannot fish in the off-leash dog area.
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.
Off-Leash Dog Area
Enjoy off-leash fun with your four-legged friends at East Branch's unfenced off-leash dog area, but you need to carry proof of a valid Forest Preserve District permit for each dog you bring. The area is open during regular preserve hours; it is closed Mondays until 9 a.m. for routine maintenance. VisitDogs in the Preservesfor rules and permit info.
East Branch was previously used as farmland prior to the Forest Preserve District acquiring it in the early 1970s. The forest preserve acquired the first parcel for this preserve in 1970, several other tracts were added in the early 1970s and in the 1990s.
During the 1980s, wetlands were created along the East Branch DuPage River as mitigation for the construction of Interstate 355. The District has monitored and maintained these wetlands over the years and consequently the quality of these wetlands has steadily improved. In the mid-1990s, a pond was constructed that was designed for dog-training purposes and to serve as a regional stormwater detention facility. This project was completed in conjunction with the widening of Swift Road by the DuPage County Division of Transportation.