Barnes Forest Preserve

39W001 Prairie St.
Aurora, IL


Blackberry Creek winds through woods and wetlands in Barnes Forest Preserve, providing vital habitat for a host of wildlife species including songbirds in migration, resident waterfowl and raptors, white-tail deer, and reptiles such as the garter snake. The preserve protects a key portion of the Blackberry Creek Watershed, where the natural wetlands afford flood control and water-quality protection.

There are walking trails on the northern portion of the preserve, which is bordered by the Virgil Gilman Trail. From the parking lot off Barnes Road, visitors can walk along an overlook trail and enjoy wildlife viewing.

The Fox Valley Park District maintains the trailhead for the Virgil Gilman Trail on Prairie Street and foot trails off Barnes Street.

Fishing Harvest Limits at Ponds within Barnes Forest Preserve:

  • Bluegill:10 fish daily harvest limit
  • Channel Catfish: 3 fish daily harvest limit
  • Common Carp: No harvest limit
  •  Crappie (white or black):10 fish daily harvest limit
  • Largemouth Bass: Protected slot limit between 14-18 inches. Harvest limit of one fish greater or equal to 18 inches and three fish less than 14 inches
  • Northern Pike: One fish daily harvest limit, 24-inch minimum length
  • Smallmouth Bass: Catch and release, only

Preserve Map


  • Bike & Nature Trails
  • Fishing


The preserve began with 32 acres originally purchased in 1994. In 2001, 104 acres were purchased from the City of Aurora, and 133 acres were purchased on the south side of Prairie Street.