Bliss Woods Forest Preserve

5S660 Bliss Rd.
Sugar Grove, IL


Bliss Woods Forest Preserve has long been a favorite preserve in the south part of Kane County. At this special preserve, visitors can see a unique and increasingly rare geologic feature, the last remnant of the Kaneville Esker. This is a winding ridge of gravel and rocks created by a river of water flowing underneath a melting glacier some 13,000 years ago. Most of the esker is gone after years of gravel mining.

On the steep slopes of the esker, there are two distinct forest habitats. The south slope, with relatively more exposure to sun and wind, is characterized by Oak-Hickory woodlands with an array of early spring wildflowers. The more-shaded slope on the north side of the esker is covered by Sugar Maple and Basswood trees.

The Virgil-Gilman Bike Trail runs east and west through the preserve and connects with Hannaford Woods-Nickels Farm Forest Preserve, as well as Waubonsee Community College to the northwest. Blackberry Creek meanders through the southern part of the preserve, and its associated riparian habitat supports many forms of wildlife. Crowning the diversity of this region is a large 18-acre wetland basin on the north side of KeDeKa Road, (a Kane County rustic road).

The outstanding ecological and geological features have led to Illinois State Nature Preserve status in portions of the forest preserve. An active group of volunteers regularly works to restore and maintain the health of this special ecological gem.

An RV campground was constructed along Bliss Road many years ago, but was removed due to serious drainage problems. In its place, a small, trailhead parking lot allows for the protection and revival of the oak savanna. Previous improvements include a picnic shelter, open play area, and improved parking.

Preserve Map  Reserve Shelter #1

*Shelter 2 is not available to reserve, however, it is available to patrons enjoying the preserve.


  • Bike & Nature Trails
  • Historic Sites
  • Nature Preserves
  • Picnic Areas
  • Shelters


The original purchase of the property began in 1984 with 137 acres from the Boy Scouts of America, plus 56 acres from a family on the east side of Bliss Road. Two years later, 3 acres were added from the adjoining Aurora Sportsmen’s Club. In 1999, 10 acres were purchased from the subdivision to the northeast. In 2001, 25 acres were purchased to the north of KeDeKa Road.