Burlington Prairie lies in the northwest corner of Burlington Township. It is one of those very rare parcels of land that through a series of fortunate land use events, remains as totally undisturbed prairie. Grasses and wildflowers carpet the gently rolling landscape of Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve. A portion of the preserve is virgin prairie, where the ground has never been broken by a plow. State-endangered plants maintain a foothold here, along with the insects that pollinate them. There are over 215 native species resident here in this 35-acre prairie and wetland, which is now a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve.
In addition to the original prairie, there are large areas of recreated prairie. Trails wind through the prairie, and visitors can observe wildlife all year long.
Located on the border of Kane and DeKalb Counties, Burlington Prairie is the District's westernmost preserve. It’s one of the few spots in Kane County where one can stand in the prairie and listen to the quiet wind sweeping over the land.
In 2006, the District received a Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant for the development of the eastern portion of the preserve. This funding made possible the construction of an improved entry road, parking lot, large shelter, restroom, solar well and drinking fountain, and three miles of interpretive and equestrian trails. Prairie restoration was also part of the grant project.
Land purchases between 1990-1991 first established the preserve with 124 acres. In 1996, 2 additional acres were added. In the year 2000, three parcels were added, totaling 299 acres. In 2005, 248 acres were acquired with the assistance of grant funding. In 2008, the final 144 acres were added to the preserve.
This preserve includes a horseback riding area. Most horse trails are natural surface, mowed-grass paths. Limestone screenings trails and asphalt bike trails are available in some of the preserves. These are multi-use trails shared with runners, bicyclists, dog walkers etc. Horse riders are required to stay on designated, forest preserve-maintained trails. Trail riding is not allowed in restricted natural areas, Illinois Nature Preserves, picnic areas or in farmed areas. To prevent trail damage during wet weather, trails may be temporarily closed. Individual forest preserves will post a sign at the entrance when horse trails are closed. Trails are currently OPEN for equestrian use at this preserve.