Explore DuPage Forest Preserves & Drift Along the DuPage River

Explore DuPage Forest Preserves & Drift Along the DuPage River


We’re out and about in DuPage and we’d like you to explore with us!

Join us as we uncover hidden gems, delve into our historical tapestry, and experiment with new and exciting offerings in our beautiful DuPage County.

This past weekend, we ventured to Blackwell Forest Preserve and the DuPage River. We kayaked (no one tipped over!), we watched the sunrise, we mingled with fishermen, and we snapped photos showcasing our amazing green spaces.

Morning Views

MV IMG_0092
(Silver Lake)

We began at Blackwell Forest Preserve (Warrenville) for an early morning scenic stroll. The fog over Silver Lake was an incredible site (definitely worth arriving early for). The serene setting provided the perfect getaway- showcasing some of DuPage County’s flourishing nature areas.

Did You Know?  

The land at Blackwell Forest Preserve was shaped by the Wisconsin Glacier melting over 12,000 years ago, and that the forest preserve made paleontological history in 1977 when a 13,000-year-old skeleton of a woolly mammoth was uncovered by a District employee? (Forest Preserve District of DuPage County)

West Branch DuPage River 

(Mack Road Canoe Launch)

Our adventure continued as we explored the West Branch of the DuPage River by kayak (Tiffany, our DCVB Marketing Coordinator and kayaker extraordinaire lead the way). The canoe launch off of Mack Road provided easy access to the river. Additional launch areas can be found at Warrenville Grove (our end location) and McDowell Grove.

The current was slow- allowing us to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. As we drifted along, we could see a variety of fish through the clear and clean waters, and marveled at the shell covered river bottom.

IMG_5013The West Branch of the DuPage River wasn’t always this clean. In fact, the river was contaminated with toxic wastes from the Rare Earths Facility in West Chicago.

In 2005, The Remedial Action River Cleanup was implemented to “restore a historic river corridor and replenish the health of its ecosystems” (Forest Preserve District of DuPage County). Today, the river is monitored by the District and the DuPage County Stormwater Management. From the looks of it, their efforts to keep the river clean are definitely working.

West Branch Wildlife 


As we paddled down the river, we were awe-struck by the abundance of wildlife within inches of our boats. Fish swam along the sides and beneath our watercraft, ducks stood on nearby rocks and a variety of other birds loomed around us. We almost forgot that we were still in DuPage County- who knew you could be “at one with nature” just outside of Chicago?

Warrenville Grove


About 2.25 miles later we arrived at Warrenville Grove (our end point). Getting off of the river was just as seamless as our entry on. Once we were off the river we couldn’t help but linger around the preserve for a little while longer. The sight of the small river rapids, woodlands and natural fens were beautiful and it was the perfect location to end our adventure.

Whether you’re new to kayaking or have been paddling for years, the West Branch of the DuPage River will not disappoint.

Don’t Know Where to Start?

Getting started on your DuPage adventure is easy with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County– offering boat rentals and instructional classes! Rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats at Blackwell and Herrick Lake Forest Preserves.

We’re already planning our next adventure- share with us your favorite DuPage County outdoor experience!

DuMore in DuPage,
The DuPage CVB Team

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