Update: The Class "C" Campground will be closed for the 2014 season. The Boat Launch is closed until mid April weather permitting.
tranquil setting, flowing rivers and natural prairie land - the Des
Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area has it all! Visitors will delight in
the abundance of wildlife, restful picnic areas and variety of sportfishing
species. Farmland and woodland, prairie and swamp, still water and shoreline
offer unlimited opportunities for nature lovers and sportsmen.
Prior to 1948 what is now
called the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area was owned by the federal
government. The Illinois Department of Conservation acquired the site
in 1948 and established its use as a recreation area. Additional land
was accessed following the completion of Interstate 55 in the 1960s.
From that time to 1975, the area was used primarily by hunters and unmanaged
day use. The Division of Land Management took over the area in 1976 and
extensive facility upgrades occurred. In recent
years, more than 350,000 people visit annually Des Plaines - an area
of more than 5,000 acres, including approximately 200 acres of water.
A restful break from hunting,
fishing or hiking can be a special event. Picnickers can choose to lunch
along the Kankakee River or under the large shelter on the banks of Milliken
Lake. Both sites provide tables, stoves and water along with cooling shade
trees and picturesque views. A playground area is present at
Open water and ice fishing
are popular events and productive! Milliken Lake, as well
several ponds and the river backwaters, provide panfish, catfish, and
bass fishing. Milliken Lake is stocked with catchable trout in the
spring. The Kankakee River borders the site on the south with 3
miles of shoreline providing access to boating enthusiasts and excellent
walleye and northern pike fishing.
Designated camping areas are
available for those wishing to stay overnight at the site. These are
C (vehicular access, no showers) areas with graveled pads, water and pit toilets. The campground is
open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, from mid-April (weather permitting)
to mid-October, closed the rest of the year.
A public boat launch with three
paved ramps is available on the Kankakee River for boating on the river
or its backwaters. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower or less on the
backwaters, but no limits exist on the Kankakee River. No boating
is allowed on Milliken Lake. Boat ramps are closed seasonally from the end of October for pheasant hunting season thru mid April (weather depending).
A 12 mile trail is open
from mid April thru October, weather permitting, from
6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
hunting is the most popular choice for sportsmen at Des Plaines, and
largest pheasant hunting (by permit only) facility in the state is located
at the site. For variety the site also offers
rabbit, dove and coyote hunting. All hunters are required to have permits and
check in at the site office. Waterfowl hunting is available at the
County Waterfowl Management Area, with hunting blinds allocated
acres of the Des Plaines SFWA are dedicated as a
nature preserve which contains many remnants of theIllinois' natural prairie. The preserve is managed to protect and perpetuate this
prairie heritage for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to view
this area, but are reminded that all plants and animals here are protected
and are not to be disturbed in any way.
hand trap ranges and an archery range are open to the public
during pheasant hunting season. Sportsmen are welcome to practice
and hone their skills so they will be ready to go on opening
to the two hand trap and archery ranges, Des Plaines
wingshooting clinics and two Hunter Safety Classes annually.
Wwingshooting clinics are held on the first weekend
June; the Hunters Safety Classes are available in June and
Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area is well known for numerous field trials
and dog training events held throughout the year. The plentiful open areas,
swampy backwater areas and woodlands provide a perfect spot for all types
of training. Whether you are training your animal or just being a spectator,
these events can be a great way to spend a day or weekend outdoors.
following programs have disabled accessibility: hunting, fishing, camping,
To enhance your trip to the area,
Located ten miles south of
Joliet and 55 miles southwest of Chicago in Will County, the site is accessible
from Interstate 55 at mile marker No. 241, Wilmington exit.
- While groups
of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities,
they are required to register in advance with the site office
to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
- At least
one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must
be kept on leashes at all times.
- Actions by
nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please
call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
- We hope you
enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
- For more
information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department
of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information
(217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.