LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve
St. Charles, IL
TEMPORARY LOT CLOSURE 7/30: The parking lot at the Great Western Trailhead, south of Dean Street in St. Charles, will be closed for the day on Friday, July 30. The lot will be striped and no parking will be permitted, that day. Alternate parking is within LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, north of Dean Street. None of the lots north of Dean Street will be impacted. The Great Western Trailhead parking lot will reopen first thing Saturday, July 31.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Open showings are every Wednesday (except holiday weeks) from 3-7 p.m.
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 an example of what life was like in the 1800s. 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 to at least 1872, though it may be older. The two buildings are used today as living history museums for students and their teachers — as well as anyone visiting the forest preserve. The Durant House Museum, as well as the Pioneer Sholes School, are listed on State and National Historic Registers and managed by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley.
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 night, per site, for youth groups within Kane County; and $50 per night, per site, for out-of-county youth groups.
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.
- Available for Rent
- Bike & Nature Trails
- Historic Sites
- Horseback Riding
- Nature Preserves
- Picnic Areas