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Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve
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The 891-acre Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve was acquired between 1938 and 2007.

The preserve is part of the Plum Creek preservation system, which conserves more than 2,300 acres of land.

Prior to the District's acquisition of the land, it was used as a Boy Scout camp.

A 775-acre portion of the site was dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1996. This dedication provides permanent protection for the natural resources at the preserve.

Natural Resources

Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, wetland, and a portion of Plum Creek.

Wildlife found at the preserve includes several state-threatened or endangered animal species, such as the Kirtland's watersnake. The preserve also provides habitat for a variety of birds, including some that nest in birdhouses fitted with "Spy-On-A-Bird" cameras. View footage from a recent wren family nest on our YouTube Channel.

The preserve is also home to several state-threatened or endangered plant species, including the spotted coral-root orchid and ear-leafed foxglove.

The site is managed with invasive species control and prescribed burning to protect and enhance its natural resources. Learn more about the District's land management activities.

Amenities and Activities


Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve features 1.89 miles of natural surface trail, ideal for hiking/running. The 1.03 miles of natural surface trail outside of the designated nature preserve are also ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The preserve also features 0.5 mile of paved trail, ideal for the following activities: In addition, the preserve provides access to the 3.15-mile, crushed limestone Plum Creek Greenway Trail, ideal for the following activities:Picnicking

The preserve offers two picnic shelters for rental: Meadow Lark Shelter (permit capacity of 150 people) and Plum Creek Shelter (permit capacity of 100 people). Learn more about picnic permits and fees.


The preserve offers a multifunctional campground for families, small groups, and large groups consisting of 16 primitive campsites in eight pods, with a permit capacity of 6 to 18 people per site. Download a map of the campground at Goodenow Grove. The campsites are on flat to hilly terrain in full shade to full sun, and provide access to fire pits and latrines. Fourteen of the campsites are on natural surface terrain, and two are on concrete pads and are ADA accessible. Learn more about camping permits and fees.

The preserve features a 40-foot hill ideal for sledding in the winter. The sled hill opens for the season on December 1, providing conditions allow for sledding. Visitors may bring their own sleds, but no steel runners, snowboards, or steerables are allowed. Sledding tubes are available for rental at the Plum Creek Nature Center when conditions allow. Learn more about sledding in the forest preserves.

Ice Skating

The preserve features an ice skating pond that is open when proper conditions exist. Learn more about ice skating in the forest preserves.


Permits are available for geocaching at this preserve. Learn more about geocaching permits.

Download a map of the amenities at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.

Visitor Center

Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve features the Plum Creek Nature Center, which offers nature education opportunities for families, school groups, and youth groups. A natural playscape around the Nature Center provides outdoor education experiences to visitors. The Nature Center is open to the public free of charge.

Programs and Events

A variety of fun and educational publi c programs are hosted at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve throughout the year, including bird hikes and astronomy programs. The preserve also features the annual "Goodenow Grove Fall Fest" event in September. View upcoming programs and events.

In addition, the preserve provides learning opportunities for school groups and youth groups. Learn more about educational programs in the forest preserves.
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve Users
Photograph Courtesy of Laura Kiran
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve is located on Dutton Road, north of Goodenow Road in Beecher.

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Visitor Center:
Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-4 p.m.
Monday: Closed
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Recreational Activities
Cross-Country Skiing
Horseback Riding
Ice Skating
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Goodenow Grove Campground Map
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve Map
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17540 W. Laraway Road, Joliet, IL 60433
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