Explore the most popular trails near Lake Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Lake Forest, Illinois Map

The most beautiful place, I run/power walk this magnificent trail almost daily and am always amazed at the ever changing beauty of this marvel of nature. The smell in the summer and spring of the fresh blooms along the gravel trail and the different species is so incredible on any given day. I feel blessed and lucky to be able to enjoy such a beautiful setting to admire and get healthy in all at the same time. A hidden gem.

One of my favorite forest preserves in Lake County. Quiet and very peaceful. Great place to relax and have a casual morning/afternoon on Lake Michigan

Even though the grassy trails are still closed, the views of the lake are fantastic.

This is is not the Lake County forest preserve which is right next door. There are two entry points to get to that trail. This is a beautiful place to see but if you're looking for a hike this is probably not the place. Trail surface: well maintained grass and gravel. Elevation: essentially flat. Bugs: little to none but I would definitely do a tick check when you are done. Scenery: beautiful views of prairie wildflowers sounds of bullfrogs birds and we spotted a deer. Jens Jensen council ring and pond: not well marked not much to see but worth a stop. Overall: the Gatehouse, history and renovation of this place is very interesting. The restoration is a job very well done.

Well maintained. Easy trail.

This is not the Lake County Forest Preserve which is right next door, and has two connecting entry points. This is a beautiful place to walk and beautiful to see the Prairie and restoration. If you're looking for a hike this is probably not the place. Trail surface: well maintained and marked grass and gravel. Elevation: essentially flat. Bugs: little to none but would definitely do a tick check when you're done. Scenery: beautiful views of prairie, wildflowers, butterflies, deer and sounds of frogs. Jens Jensen council ring and pond: path to not very well-marked, worth a stop to see. Overall: Gatehouse and history of this place is very interesting and job restoring very well done.

Nice trail, into Lake Bluff.

peaceful walk and nicely maintained trail but in the winter there isn't much to look at besides mcmansions.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Quiet, peaceful and an amazing trail to walk, run or bike. Great bird watching as well.

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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Very nice and easy trail. Half of the northern loop is grass path and the rest is a wide gravel trail. I ran in mid Sept. lots of wild flowers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mostly a hike through prairie and wetlands. Great for bird watching.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Loved this trail. Not far from downtown. Great with a dog. Easy parking. Super clean. Will be back!

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.

Friday, June 19, 2015

i walk and bike this trail throughout the year. If you time it right you'll see deer, coyote, herons, cranes, various duck breeds, Canadian geese, Indigos, Bobwhites, Baltimore Orioles,owls and many other birds found in wet lands. There's an educational center at the entrance where you can see raptors that were rehabbed. Highly recommend taking the time to hike here.Trail connects with the North Branch Bike Trail that you can ride into Chicago.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fantastic for a family hike! Also great for the family dog.

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