Grainger Woods

25910 North Saint Marys Rd
Mettawa,IL 60045
329 acres
6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Grainger Woods

This preserve harbors a rare stand of northern flatwoods, ecologically valuable wetlands, and several state-listed threatened and endangered species.

While there are no trails here, the two natural communities found on the site include a wet-mesic prairie and a high-quality sedge meadow that contain more than 165 native plant species. Healthy, native plants are now thriving in pastures where horses once grazed. The preserve underwent a comprehensive ecological restoration during a 7-year, $1.5 million project to remove non-native and invasive species, and reestablish native species to support native habitats. The project was supported by a generous $500,000 grant from The Grainger Foundation.

Townline Stables operates a boarding stable at the northwest corner of the preserve. For information, call 847-219-4951.


  • GWCP01
  • GWCP02

More About This Preserve

The Natural Scene

At Grainger Woods, mesic oak woodlands, wetlands, meadows and prairies harbor several state-listed threatened and endangered species including a sedge not seen in the Chicago region since 1955. The site’s rare northern flatwoods contain mainly swamp white oaks, black ash, musclewood and hop hornbeam. Seasonally flooded woods, flatwoods are wet in the spring and fall and dry during summer. The site also features a large formerly-grazed pasture that is slowly returning to its original prairie state as evident by emerging native plants including prairie dock, golden ragwort, blue-eyed grass, large yellow fox sedge, crested oval sedge, wild strawberry and other plant species.

Several grassland birds have found excellent habitat in the abundant pasture grasses. The bobolink, meadowlark, Eastern kingbird and the savanna sparrow were spotted on the site by forest preserve staff, and a voice identification was made of the state-threatened Henslow’s sparrow.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has designated a 169-acre portion in the southwestern part of Grainger Woods as an Illinois Nature Preserve, a status conferred only on the state’s most ecologically sensitive public lands. The portion of the site named as an Illinois Nature Preserve contains wet-mesic upland forest, and northern flatwoods, which is a globally imperiled community. The designation will provide protection to seven state endangered or threatened species.


In 1996, Grainger donated to us 261 acres that were valued at $14 million. It represents the largest single land donation in the agency's history and is part of the conservation development plan for Grainger’s corporate headquarters. In 1999, additional land adjacent to Grainger Woods was been purchased to further protect environmentally sensitive wetlands, a sedge meadow and wet-mesic prairie.


The entrance to Townline Stables is on the southeast corner of Saint Mary's Road and Route 60. There are no trails at this preserve.