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Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve

your forest preserves

Maps 

Trail Map
Directions

Acreage

250 acres

Activities

Bicycling
Cross-Country Skiing
Fishing
Hike Lake County Challenge
Hiking
Self-Guided Trails & Exhibits
Walk With Docs

Amenities

Public Parking
Trails

Related Sites 

Fort Sheridan Golf Club

Other Information 

History of the Fort
Interactive Timeline
Trailside Exhibits
For Teachers and Youth Leaders

Fort Sheridan

Closure alert (pst 8-6-14): Repairs have begun on a collapsed section of bluff and a portion of the grass trail along the bluff will be closed to visitors until construction is complete. Please obey all signage on the trail. All parking and other areas of the preserve are not affected. View repair map

Rolling terrain, bluffs, ravines and mature trees set on the Lake Michigan shoreline make this preserve a scenic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Trails here include roughly 4.5 miles for hiking, 3.7 miles for cross-country skiing, and 1.3 miles for bicycling: the 1.3-mile asphalt Lake Michigan Trail is designed for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing and runs from Sheridan Road through the preserve to Lake Michigan where you can enjoy 0.75 miles of sandy shoreline for hiking, fishing, bird watching, picnicking or relaxing. Swimming, wading and boating are not allowed.

The trail connects visitors to educational exhibits along the Fort's historic parade ground and to other walk-through exhibits and viewing stations along the route. An additional 2.1 miles of mowed trail are also available for hiking and cross-country skiing. A shorter 0.3-mile woodchip trail is also open to hiking and cross-country skiing and offers scenic views of the preserve's ravines from the trail bridge. Biking is not allowed on this section of trail.

View images and videos about the preserve's trails, educational exhibits, cemetery, lakeshore, natural resources and ongoing restoration efforts.

Middle School Curriculum

Fort Sheridan's rich history and unique natural resources provide an ideal backdrop for studying topics relevant in today's social studies, science and language arts classrooms. A free educator's kit is available to instructors of middle school-level students. Call 847-968-3321.

Cemetery

The Fort Sheridan cemetery has played an important role in the site's history. It stands as a silent witness to the past. Generations of American military service members and their families are buried in this unique oval-shaped cemetery located within view of the Lake Michigan shoreline. Gravestones here date back to 1890.

Though we provide ongoing care and maintenance, the cemetery is still operated by the Army. The cemetery currently has available burial openings for eligible verterans from any branch of military service and their family. For questions regarding burials, contact the Cemetery Supervisor Joe Rafferty at 847-615-0232.

A separate, scenic entrance is provided in the northern part of the preserve. Hours are 8 am to 5 pm, daily, with hours extended to 7 pm for Memorial Day. Details.

Golf Course Information

The former golf course was constructed by the Army in the late 1960s for use by military personnel. The course is now closed. Details.

 

Location

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is located in southeast Lake County in Lake Forest.

The entrance is located on Sheridan Road at Old Elm Road and Simonds Way. Enter on Simonds Way, left on Leonard Wood Drive North, left on Gilgare Lane to parking area. [View on Google Maps]

 

History

Fort Sheridan was a U.S. Army base from 1887 until 1993, when it officially ceased operations as an active military post. A reserve training area was retained by the Army, and several of the Fort’s buildings and officers homes were sold by the Town of Fort Sheridan for private residences.

Measures to secure 250 acres of the Fort property for public benefit began in the late 1980s. For nearly a decade, we worked with surrounding communities to win congressional and presidential approval of legislation to have the Army transfer land to the Lake County Forest Preserves for public open space, recreation and preservation. In 1997, the Army began conveyance of the northern section of the former base. The third and final parcel was received in 2001.

 

The Natural Scene

A unique Lake Michigan natural resource, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is of statewide significance. Its bluff areas contain the largest and best remaining examples of natural open prairie-like vegetation that once occurred along the lake bluffs in Illinois. And one of its six rare ravines—Janes Ravine—is one of the few remaining examples of mesic and dry-mesic upland forests. The ravines and lakeshore provide a protected home for several endangered and threatened species.

 
Shoreline at Fort Sheridan, image © Ki

News

Board approves 100-year Vision and Strategic Plan
Discovery Museum participates in Blue Star program
Board approves 100-year vision
 

Improvements

Fort Sheridan