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Lake County Forest Preserves | Preservation, Restoration, Education and Recreation


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Cross-Country Skiing


Outdoor recreation fun in your forest preserves doesn't end when winter arrives. Nearly 166 miles of challenging and scenic cross-country skiing trails await beginners and skilled enthusiasts as soon as snow flies.

Cross-Country Skiing Hours & Locations

Preserve trails are open 6:30 am–sunset, daily. Extended hours are available during daylight savings time along solar lighted trails at Old School in Libertyville and along a section of the Millennium Trail in Wauconda. The illuminated trails and adjacent parking lots remain open after sunset until 9 pm, daily, early November–early March.

Designated Trails
When conditions allows, skiers can use the dedicated equestrian trails at Lakewood and Raven Glen and most forest preserve hiking trails, except at the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods. A 4-inch snow base is required at Ryerson in order to protect sensitive habitat at this Illinois Dedicated Nature Preserve site.

Groomed trails are available at the Lakewood Winter Sports Area, Old School, and along the Des Plaines River Trail between Old School and the Wright Woods Canoe Launch on Route 60. Grooming is typically done two days after a large snow.

The following preserves and canoe launches along the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway offer parking and trail access:

Location Parking & Trail Access
Des Plaines River, Gurnee At canoe launch entrance at McClure Avenue and O'Plaine Road, just south of Grand Avenue near Gowe Park. Map »
Half Day, Mettawa At main entrance on Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) south of Route 60. Map »
Independence Grove, Libertyville At North Bay Pavillion and canoe launch. Map »

Kilbourne Road, Gurnee

At Kilbourne Road east of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and north of Grand Avenue (Route 132). Map »
Sedge Meadow, Wadsworth At main and canoe launch entrances on Wadsworth Road east of Route 41. Map »
Van Patten Woods, Wadsworth At main Route 173 and Russell Road entrances, both east of Route 41. Map »
Wright Woods, Vernon Hills At canoe launch entrance on Route 60 east of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21). Map »

Skiing Tips from Des Plaines River Nordic Ski Patrol

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