The 525-acre McKinley Woods was acquired between 1931 and 2004.
The preserve is part of the Des Plaines River preservation system, which conserves more than 2,400 acres.
Prior to the District's acquisition of the land, it was used as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, and the Frederick's Grove Shelter is a remnant of that camp.
Frederick's Grove is one of two access areas to the preserve. The other access area is Kerry Sheridan Grove in Channahon.
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McKinley Woods protects a diversity of habitats, including forest, prairie, wetland and a portion of the Des Plaines River.
Wildlife found at the preserve includes the queen snake and 99 bird species, such as the cedar waxwing, bald eagle and purple martin.
The preserve is also home to a variety of plant species, including redbud, blue ash and chinquapin oak.
The site is managed with invasive species control, prescribed burning and habitat restoration to protect and enhance its natural resources. Learn more about the District’s land management activities.
Amenities and Activities
Frederick's Grove features 2.02 miles of natural surface trails, ideal for hiking/running. Of these, 1.59 miles are also ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A portion of the Riverbend Lookout Trail – .36 mile of the total .54-mile loop – has been closed due to unsafe conditions caused by dead and dying ash trees along the path. The section of the path that remains open allows access to the Upland Trail, a .26-mile loop.
Frederick's Grove also provides access to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' 61.5-mile, crushed limestone I&M Canal State Trail.
Frederick's Grove offers four primitive campsites for family or group rental, with a permit capacity of six people per site. The campsites are on flat terrain in full shade to full sun and provide access to grills, fire pits and latrines. Two of the campsites are on natural surface terrain and two are on concrete pads and are ADA accessible. The campsites are unavailable for rental from November 1 through April 15 each year for safety and maintenance. Learn more about camping permits and fees.
Frederick's Grove offers two picnic shelters for rental: Frederick’s Grove Shelter (permit capacity of 30 people) and Riverbend Lookout Shelter (permit capacity of 50 people). Frederick's Grove Shelter is unavailable for rental from November 1 through April 15 each year for safety and maintenance. Learn more about picnic permits and fees.
Frederick's Grove offers access to shoreline fishing on the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal. State and District regulations apply. Learn more about fishing in the forest preserves.
Frederick's Grove features canoe/kayak launches on the Des Plaines River and I&M Canal. No launch pass is required. All persons in a canoe or kayak must wear a personal flotation device at all times. Learn more about canoeing/kayaking in the forest preserves.
Permits are available for geocaching at McKinley Woods. Learn more about geocaching permits.