Forest Glen County Preserve

What To Know

Forest Glen County Preserve is a local favorite with over 1900 Acres of forest located 7 miles east of Westville, Illinois.

Filled with an abundance of Beech-Maple Trees, Wildlife, Trails, Camping and other attractions.

Famous for the 72-foot tall observation tower and Homemade Maple Syrup, made on-site from sap extracted from Forest Glen Sugar Maple trees.

Forest Glen County Preserve Entrance Sign

Dedicated On

October 12, 1968

total acres

1900+ Acres

Bird Species

220 Documented


Ranked in Illinois


Geology & Coal Mine

Why is Forest Glen significant?

  • Beech-Maple Forest indicative of the forests of the eastern US
  • 220 different species of birds documented
  • Ranked botanically in the State of Illinois flora and fauna species
  • Contains several threatened and endangered species
  • Geology and coal mine history

Special Features of Forest Glen

  • 72-foot tall observation tower; one of only four of its kind in Illinois
  • Quarter mile paved Beech Grove Trail; ADA accessible
  • Sycamore Hollow Education Campus
  • Tree Research Area
  • Michael G. Reddy Arboretum
  • Doris L. Westfall Prairie Illinois State Nature Preserve
  • Pioneer Homestead for historical interpretation and special events
  • Maple Syrup Production site; one of the top five maple syrup producers in Illinois
  • River Ridge Backpack Trail; an 10.5-mile easy-to-rugged hiking trail
  • Campgrounds include Family Campground, Tent Campgrounds, Group Campgrounds, back-pack trail camping, and a canoe-base camp along the Vermilion River
  • Busby-Meyer Wildlife Area; prairie restoration area. Public pheasant hunting, in season (Registration & fee required)

Observation Tower

72-foot tall observation tower; one of only four of its kind in Illinois.

Visitor Center

The Lorna J. Konsis Visitor Center, previously Staff Office, was rededicated in August of 2017 with financial assistance from the VCC Foundation. Lorna Konsis worked here from 1987 until her death in February of 2017. The Visitor Center office helps with building & shelter rentals, maps, and park information.

Ranger Station

Register for your campsite, get your park maps, firewood, or our famous maple syrup and more.

Forest Glen Preserve Gannett Outdoor Education Center

Gannett Outdoor Education Center

The Gannet Education Center hosts thousands of Pre-K, Elementary, Jr. and Senior High, and College students annually through the VCCD Outdoor School Program, Day Visits, and higher learning program opportunities. The VCC Foundation helps financially with printing costs of the Outdoor School Workbooks and has pledged $75,000 toward the Education Center’s building upgrades which began in 2020.

Sycamore Hollow Nature Center

Visited by thousands of park visitors and students annually, this Nature Center offers nature displays, history, and live animal exhibits.

Forest Glen Preserve Rv Campground

RV & Travel Trailer Campground

The Modern Family Campgrounds offers 34 electric sites; 8 non-electric. There are 14 tent-only sites located in a forested area. No Reservations; first-come, first-serve only

Willow Creek Pond

The 7-acre pond located near Audubon Barn invites visitors to fish, kayak, canoe, and launch small boats with trolling motors from the small boat ramp.

Hegeler Covered Bridge

This Red covered bridge is a gift of the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation in 2001

Forest Glen Preserve Sugar Bush

Sugar Bush

The Sugar Bush houses the evaporator where sugar maple sap is made into Forest Glen Maple Syrup.

Pioneer Homestead Forest Glen Preserve

Pioneer Homestead

An 1800’s style log cabin used for educational and historic programs and events. Complete with barn and small kitchen garden.

Forest Glen Preserve Maple Grove Lodge

Maple Grove Lodge

Available for event and party rental, it was constructed in 1996. The VCCF funded $8,000 of upgrades to help make this Forest Glen’s most popular building. By reservation only

Forest Glen Preserve Heritage Memorial Forest

Heritage Memorial Forest

Located along the road on the south boundary, the Memorial Forest serves as a tribute to the memory of a loved one or signifies a special occasion or event. 450 trees have been planted there. The Heritage Memorial Forest Program was discontinued in 2007.

Forest Glen Preserve Nature Trail

Nature Trails

Forest Glen’s 11 nature trails offer 25 miles of walking or hiking and range from easy to rugged. The 1/3 mi. Beech Grove Trail is ADA accessible; the 10.5 mi. backpack trail is complete with overnight campgrounds. Backpackers must register at least a week in advance
Forest Glen Preserve Urbas Classroom

Urbas Classroom

A part of the Sycamore Hollow Campus, the Urbas Classroom is used for Outdoor School Programs.

Forest Glen Preserve Doris L Westfall

Nature Preserves

Forest Glen contains 4 dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves. 

Forest Glen Preserve Beech Grove Trail

Beech Grove Trail

Constructed in 1976, the 1/3 mi. asphalt trail was repaved in 2020 with help from the Middle Fork Audubon Society, Wheeler Foundation, and VCC Foundation.  The VCC Foundation procured a grant for an ADA-accessible restroom to be constructed in the trail area and assisted with funding for the trail renovation.

Busby Meyer Wildlife Area

Busby-Meyer Wildlife Area

Purchased with the assistance of the VCC Foundation, Vermilion County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and others, 110 acres of agricultural land was dedicated on May 16, 2010, as the Busby-Meyer Wildlife Area. The prairie renewal project parcel is open to the public for pheasant hunting, in season. (Registration and fee required)

Forest Glen Preserve Maple Syrup 1

Homemade Maple Syrup

Forest Glen Maple Syrup has been produced since the 1980s, mainly for educational value. Syrup became available for purchase to the public in 1989.

VCCF Directors now volunteer during the annual Maple Syrup Open House, held on the third Sunday in March.


VCCF Projects

  • Maple Grove Modernization Project
  • Purchase of 11 acres of agricultural ground in the Forest Glen Entrance
  • Purchase of agriculture land with Pheasants Forever local chapter
  • Long Range Project: Playground Equipment Replacement
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