West DuPage Woods


The Forest Preserve District will be replacing a culvert near Winfield Marsh along the West Branch DuPage River Trail at West DuPage Woods Forest Preserve. Construction will start on Sept. 12. As a result, this section of the trail (circled in yellow on this map) will be temporarily closed for about two weeks. Signs will also be posted on barricades at the preserve.


Natural Scene

Visitors can choose to explore the high ground, where mowed paths through the upland woods showcase an impressive display of spring wildflowers. Or, they can choose the low-lying areas, where they’ll find that wetlands and the banks of the West Branch DuPage River host an interesting array of marsh vegetation and wildlife. The preserve is a popular birding spot, known for hosting migrating warblers. 



The Elsen's Hill area is a designated important birding area by the Audubon Society for its diverse, quality habitat for rare breeding birds and stopover migrants. More than 200 bird species have been observed in the Elsen's Hill area, including 36 species of warblers and all of Illinois' regularly occurring vireos, thrushes and flycatchers.

Birding points of interest include the ponds and oak savannah along the Willow Trail and the stretch of river along the Hickory Trail. The site is also known for its breeding red-headed woodpeckers, yellow-billed cuckoos and chestnut-sided warblers.


Driving Directions

West DuPage Woods is on Route 59 about 0.5 mile north of Roosevelt Road (Route 38). A second entrance is on the north side of Gary’s Mill Road between Roosevelt and Winfield roads.


West DuPage Woods has a 1-mile loop from the main parking lot and a 2-mile loop from the Elsen's Hill parking lot. Both offer a variety of terrain and are popular for hiking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.


A short walk from either parking lot brings you to a picnic area with tables and drinking water.


This preserve offers fishing along the West Branch of DuPage River for sunfish, carp and bluegill. In the Elsen's Hill area, a 0.5-acre pond has bass and sunfish.

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.



In presettlement times, the preserve was made up of scattering timber and timber surrounding to the West Branch of the DuPage River. After settlement, some of the land was cleared for cultivation, while some woodland areas stayed intact.

The first parcel was purchased in the early 1920s, making it one of the District’s oldest preserves. Adjacent parcels were purchased throughout the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s.

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