Fort Sheridan Loop Trail

MODERATE 22 reviews

Fort Sheridan Loop Trail is a 1.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Lake Forest, Illinois that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

1.9 miles
45 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly


cross country skiing



mountain biking

nature trips


trail running







wild flowers




old growth


no shade

Relax on the shore of Lake Michigan, enjoy trails for recreation and nature observation, and learn about Fort Sheridan's story through self-guided educational exhibits. Known for its pristine natural areas and excellent lakefront birdwatching. A unique Lake Michigan natural resource, Fort Sheridan is of statewide significance. The land here was shaped by the forces of glaciation and erosion. Efforts to restore the site and preserve its valuable ecosystems and rich human history is ongoing. In total, roughly 4.5 miles are available here for hiking, 3.7 miles for cross-country skiing, and 1.3 miles for bicycling. Trail surfaces include paved, gravel, grass, woodchip, and sand. Paved: 1.3-mile Lake Michigan Trail for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. Trail runs from Sheridan Road through the preserve to Lake Michigan, and connects to educational exhibits along the Fort's historic parade ground and to other walk-through exhibits and viewing stations along the route. Grass: 2.1-mile mowed trail for hiking and cross-country skiing only. Woodchip: 0.3-mile trail for hiking and cross-country skiing only. Trail offers scenic views of the preserve's ravines from the trail bridge. Sandy shoreline: 0.75 miles for hiking only. The shoreline is also great for fishing, birdwatching, picnicking or relaxing. Swimming, wading, and boating are not allowed.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Unfortunately this trail is closed on the Fort Sheridan side. We decide to walk around the historically side of Fort Sheridan. We parked on the street. walked along some of the paths, read the historical markers, walked across the grass. When we returned to our car we just got there in time to talk to the police officer whom informed us there is no street parking with a permit. There are a few signs that say that but they are widely spaced out. The officer was gracious and allowed us to pass. When I asked him is there a place for the public to park he didn't give me a conclusive answer.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Lake access closed (environmental protection so a good cause). Wasn't too muddy (ice patches), but would avoid after rain. Loop took us less than 1 hour with 3 kids. Would call it easy not moderate. Could even use a terrain stroller. Easy parking. Would recommend.

trail running
Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nice trail, lake shore access was closed. Trail was grassed and muddy at times, but beautiful run through the prairie, forest, and lake overlook.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pretty place! Lake front access was closed but still plenty of path to explore. Not a lot of tree shade so bring a hat!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Nice place to bring the dog for a walk.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cool place to go and enjoy the prairie land and Lake Michigan. Love to go here with parents and dogs!.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Lake access is closed but still a nice short trail.

mountain biking
Saturday, May 07, 2016


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

It's not a hike at all. More like a leisurely nature walk. Lots of people with disobedient dogs off leash. Not a bad stroll, but kind of disappointing.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fantastic! Has 4 different type of path options, different levels of difficulty, and lots of side trails. My dog and I LOVED it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Beautiful place

Monday, September 28, 2015

This is a rather new suburban trail. It's a rarity to be so close to the Lake on a bike in Illinois without being in the city of Chicago. The flora and fauna mixed in with a variety of residential and parkland bluff areas create the feel of being on the California coast. All the building are restored and beautiful. They were primarily built circa late 19th century
The "secret beach" at the of the north part of the trail is cool and uncrowded. Love it!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

This is a nice trail. Short and sweet. Trailhead starts at NE corner of Old Elm and Sheridan Roads, parking on NW corner. (Starbucks is just South of corner gas station.)
It's about a two mile hike if you do the full circle. Bear left upon entrance which brings you north past Ft Sheridan military cemetary, around and over a ravine bridge to bluff's edge. There you can trek down one of two deer trails to the beach. It's a steep slope so if you're not into that, continue along the bluff's edge where you can take a walkway down to the beach.
Down at the beach, turn right and tread south. Because the water
level has been rising, there's a spot where you'll need to either wade around the boulders of climb over. I recommend the wade if the water is clear and calm.
Be aware of old, rusted barbed wire which may be present protruding from sand or rocks from time to time, having washed ashore from previous years. I've only seen it once or twice in the hundreds of times I've hiked there, but it is a potential hazard, albeit rare. This is also one of the several reasons for not swimming at this beach. It has never been fully cleared of hazardous debris.
When you come to the steps, you can turn there and go up to get back on the trail. Another quarter mile through grassland prairie and hilly woodlands, past a giant hawk nest observatory, and you will arrive back at the trailhead. Enjoy.
ps. Please respect the wildlife and follow trail rules - dogs on leash and pick up after them.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Monday, November 02, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015