The 525-acre East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights is largely a natural wetland along the East Branch of the DuPage River with lakes, marshes and wildlife habitats. It is an excellent place to observe grassland birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, including spring and fall migrants.
In addition to recreational opportunities, the preserve provides valuable benefits to the community in the form of storm water control and improved water quality. One 0.8-mile trail and several unmarked footpaths allow visitors to observe everything from white-tailed deer and coyotes to great blue herons, sandhill cranes, and migrant waterfowl.
A picnic area is located at the Glen Ellyn Road entrance. Ground fires are prohibited, but visitors may bring their own grills and use the on-site hot-coal disposal containers. For everyone’s convenience, East Branch offers portable toilets near both parking lots.
The 15-acre Rush Lake has a maximum depth of 20 feet with little vegetation and steep gravel shores. The 5-acre Sunfish Pond has a maximum depth of 25 feet. Both feature largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie and bluegill. Carp and bullheads also live in Rush Lake’s waters.
For those who would rather fish moving waters, the East Branch of the DuPage River winds through the preserve and offers anglers largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, channel and flathead catfish, and northern pike. Anglers should note that fishing is not allowed in the off-leash dog area.
Anglers 16 and older who are not legally disabled must have valid Illinois sport fishing licenses in their possession. All anglers must follow all District and state regulations.
Off-Leash Dog Area
Dogs with valid Forest Preserve District permits can enjoy East Branch’s unfenced off-leash area at the Swift Road parking lot. Rules for the area are posted at the preserve. when in the off-leash area; dogs must be leashed in all other areas of the preserve. The area is open during regular preserve hours; it is closed on Mondays until 9 a.m. for routine maintenance. Purchase a permit online or call Visitor Services Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (630) 933-7248.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is committed to making its facilities accessible to all visitors. For special accessibility needs or concerns, please contact the District’s ADA coordinator at (630) 933-7683 or
TTY (800) 526-0857 at least three business days in advance of your visit.