West Branch

The 713-acre West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett features a variety of habitats, plants and animals. Originally purchased to help with flood control, the forest preserve also features a reservoir that collects and naturally filters stormwater.


Natural Scene

West Branch contains two lakes, wetlands, a tallgrass meadow, a wet prairie, an immature floodplain forest, and a rare fen and hosts a variety of reptiles, amphibians mammals, and birds, including grassland birds and migrating and nesting shorebirds.


Driving Directions

The main entrance is on the south side of Army Trail Road at Gerber Road, 2 miles east of Route 59. Another entrance is on the west side of Fair Oaks Road south of Army Trail Road and north of Lies Road.


Over 2 miles of trails ideal for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and horseback riding winds through the preserve and connects to the Hawk Hollow Preserve trail system to the north.


The 40-acre Deep Quarry Lake has two fishing piers and a maximum depth of 45 feet; 15-acre Bass Lake’s deepest point is 30 feet. Both contain bass, sunfish, channel and flathead catfish, carp, bluegill, and crappie.

The West Branch of the DuPage River snakes through the forest preserve for more than 2 miles, offering scenic beauty for all visitors in addition to ample fishing opportunities. 

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

Notice — The Forest Preserve District has found nonnative, invasive zebra mussels in Deep Quarry and Bass Lakes at West Branch Forest Preserve. You can help stop their spread no matter where you 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.)


You can explore Deep Quarry Lake in your canoe, kayak or other select nongasoline-powered watercraft but need to have a Forest Preserve District permit in your possession.



Before settlement, the preserve was made up of prairie, wet/marshy prairie and scattering timber surrounding the West Branch DuPage River. The preserve was primarily under cultivation. Miles of drain tiles were installed and drained into the river. Several home sites dotted the landscape, including the Baker Homestead, still standing along St. Charles Road near Prince Crossing Road.

The bulk of the preserve was purchased in the mid-1970s, with parcels added in the intervening decades.

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