white oak LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve

St. Charles Township

37W700 Dean St.
St. Charles, IL

Bike and Nature Trails
Historic Sites
Horseback Riding
Nature Preserves
Picnic Areas

Preserve Map Horseback Riding Area Find a Preserve
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve is a regular destination for both passive and active recreation. In addition to amazing natural features, there are various built amenities on site, leading LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve to be one of the District’s most popular preserves.

Natural Features
LeRoy Oakes is made-up of a high-quality prairie, woodland, and Ferson Creek, which meanders through the preserve. In addition, contained within the preserve is a true prairie relic (the Murray prairie), various restorations (including the Bob Horlock area), flood plain forests, seeps, oak woodlands and grassy fields. The only native colony of Speckled Alder is growing here.

Seeds of prairie plants have been sown across acres of fields, both north and south of Dean Street. The site itself is varied and beautiful, with over 130 feet of elevation difference from the crest in the center of the property to Ferson Creek. Spend some time exploring. There are almost 9 miles of trails here, including the starting point for the Great Western Trail.

Creek Bend Nature Center
LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve serves as home to a number of popular attractions including Creek Bend Nature Center — the hub of the Forest Preserve District’s Environmental Education program. Permanent, interactive exhibits include a woodland exhibit featuring Illinois’ State Tree, the White Oak; a wetland exhibit that provides an underwater look at the Fox River; and a prairie biodiversity exhibit with bison dating back to the late 1800s. There’s plenty to see and do. Ask a naturalist about upcoming nature programs, go on a self-guided hike or scavenger hunt, or simply enjoy learning about Kane County ecology. Creek Bend Nature Center is open Monday - Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday - Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.

For information on nature programs or Creek Bend Nature Center:
Contact our Environmental Education staff at 630-444-3190 or e-mail programs@kaneforest.com.

Creek Bend Nature Center's gallery space adjoins a 1930s estate that serves as a private rental facility for special events such was weddings, showers and business meetings. Whether you’re planning an intimate party for 20 or a large, tented reception for 200, let Creek Bend Nature Center and the surrounding landscaped grounds serve as the backdrop for your gathering. Don’t just have a special event, have an extraordinary one at Creek Bend Nature Center.

For pricing and information on renting Creek Bend Nature Center for a private event:
Call our Community Affairs staff at 630-444-3064 or email here. Showings are Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m., otherwise by appointment.

Cultural Attractions
Historic gems such as the Durant House Museum and Pioneer Sholes School are located at LeRoy Oakes. The Durant House Museum was built in 1843. The home serves as a living history museum, operated by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley. The Pioneer Sholes School is an authentically restored and furnished one-room country school that was relocated from its original site in Burlington Township. The school dates back to at least 1872, though it may be older. The building is used today as a living museum for students and their teachers. The building is operated by the Pioneer Sholes School Society. Both the Durant House Museum, as well as the Pioneer Sholes School, are listed on State and National Registers and are available for tours by reservation.

For information or group reservations for the Durant House Museum:
Call Preservation Partners at (630) 377-6424.

For information or group reservations for Pioneer Sholes School:

Call Preservation Partners at 630-377-6424.

Youth Camping Area
On the east side of LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve is an area designated for tent camping by organized youth groups such as scouts, church groups and schools. There are 8 camp sites for tent camping that will accommodate up to 25 campers each, for a total of 200 campers. Firewood is provided. Youth groups may rent one or more tent camp sites.

Click HERE to see a diagram of the LeRoy Oakes Youth Camping Area.

Camp Site Rental
Tent camp sites are available at a discounted rate of $25 per day/night per site for youth groups within Kane County; and $50 per day/night per site for out-of-county youth groups.

Tent camp sites are not available for rental by the general public. Instead, see information on Big Rock Campground or Paul Wolff Campground.

Horseback Riding Area
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.