Looking to get some fresh air and exercise with your furry friend? Look no further than the Aurora West Forest Preserve! Located on the western edge of Aurora, this 715-acre site was once part of the historical Sugar Grove and was plowed for row crop agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following extensive restoration efforts by the county and district, it is now an ecological mosaic of marsh, prairie, and woodland habitats, pawfectly suited for a quiet stroll in nature with Fido. And best of all, this preserve is a designated off leash zone!
You and your pooch will find the main entrance to the preserve on Hankes Road, ruffly half a mile northwest of Deerpath Road. Athletic pups will be pleased to know that there are over 3 miles of trails to tackle at Aurora West, ranging from the 0.14-mile Airfield Trail to the 1.7-mile Great Prairie Trail. As its name suggests, the Airfield Trail leads to a radio-controlled airplane field, where you and your pup might encounter model aircraft enthusiasts flying their planes. The multi-purpose Great Prairie Trail traverses the preserve, meandering past woodland, wetland, and grassland before connecting to the Virgil Gilman Regional Bike Trail. Because the forest is home to a host of native animals, you can expect to see deer, birds, and other critters during your walk.
If your doggo does well under voice control, they are welcome to explore the preserve without a leash. Aurora West is designated as an off-leash dog area, but a portion of the property that has been allotted for wildlife habitat protection is off-limits to canines, so keep your eyes open for posted signs. Whether you keep Fido's leash on or let them roam unfettered, always have a leash in your hand, and eyes on your canine companion. Dogs must dislay a current vaccination tag on their collars throughout the preserve. Doggie waste bags are not provided, so be sure to bring your own and stoop and scoop when necessary. Water is available near the main parking lot, so bring a bottle to fill up for your adventure, but do leave the food and treats at home.
Enjoy a woofderful afternoon with your pup at the Aurora West Forest Preserve!