Aurora West Forest Preserve

40W032 Hankes Road
Aurora, IL


As an ecological mosaic of prairie, marsh and woodland communities, Aurora West Forest Preserve supports a host of native animals. The Kane County Department of Environmental Management has worked extensively on a stormwater retention project, here. In conjunction with the County’s project, the Forest Preserve District’s restoration efforts have involved restoring hydrology, recreating wetlands, reintroducing prairie plants, and removing invasive vegetation.

There is an active volunteer stewardship program at Aurora West, offering many opportunities for citizens to get involved in habitat restoration.

A multi-purpose trail, constructed with grant funding as an extension of the Mid-County Regional Trail, traverses the preserve and connects to the Virgil Gilman regional bike trail, originating in Aurora.

This preserve includes a model aircraft field. Please note, while model aircraft and/or drones are permitted in the specific area referenced, they are not allowed outside of this area. The only other preserve locations where model aircraft and/or drones are permitted in the Kane County forest preserves are sections of Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest Preserve and Hampshire Forest Preserve.

The preserve is designated as an off-leash dog area, but a portion of the preserve is off-limits for dogs. This restricted-use area is set aside for wildlife habitat protection. Please follow all Rules and Regulations regarding use of these areas.

Preserve Map


  • Bike & Nature Trails
  • Model Aircraft Fields
  • Off-Leash Dog Areas


Aurora West Forest Preserve, a 715-acre property, was part of the historical “Sugar Grove” in the early years of Kane County. Much of the land was plowed for row-crop agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but some timber was left standing. The majority of the area remained in agriculture until the District purchased the initial 117 acres in 1977. Another 64 acres were obtained by 2000, and with the assistance of an acquisition grant, an additional 351 acres were added in 2000. The latest 205 acres were acquired in 2005.