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Half Day & Captain Daniel Wright Woods Trail Map
Des Plaines River Trail Map
Countywide Map & Guide
Half Day Pond


236 acres


Cross-Country Skiing
Hike Lake County Challenge
Picnic Shelter Rental


Drinking Water
Horse Trailer Parking
Picnic Shelters
Picnic Tables
Public Parking

Related Sites 

Captain Daniel Wright Woods
Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway

Picnic Shelters

Shelter A
Shelter B
Shelter C

Half Day

Construction Alert: Construction to replace the toilets by the trail access will begin in late August. The current facility will be in operation until the new toilet is in place. Please exercise caution in this area.

This quiet and clean preserve features a 1-mile trail for hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers, three beautiful picnic shelters, a 3-acre pond for fishing, open playfields and a playground.

A footbridge spanning the Des Plaines River links Half Day to Wright Woods Forest Preserve. Together they offer some of southern Lake County's most scenic outdoor recreation opportunities.

Picnic facilities at Half Day are designed for gatherings both large and small, while those at the more fragile Wright Woods are best-suited for small groups. 

The Des Plaines River Trail passes through both preserves. Its gravel base is perfect for hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. 



Half Day Forest Preserve is in southeast Lake County in Vernon Hills. [View on Google Maps]

The entrance and parking area are located on Route 21 (Milwaukee Avenue) at the light for Woodlands Parkway, south of Route 60 (Townline Road) and just north of Route 22 (Half Day Road).



In the early 1960s, these acres were some of the first we acquired. The old farm fields west of the river remained fallow for many years until Half Day was developed in the late 1980s. This preserve was named for Potowatomi chief, Aptakisic, whose name means "sun at its meridian" or "half day."


The Natural Scene

Half Day provides the opportunity to see the powerful effects of water and fire. Prior to settlement by Europeans, human and natural caused fires were an important disturbance that helped shaped the natural communities we find along the Des Plaines River. As a result, Half Day, which is situated west of the river, supports the oaks and prairie plants that thrived under fire’s influence. Though many natural areas at Half Day were degraded by farming, some survived and others are being restored.

In spring, the bridge between Half Day and Wright Woods is a popular place to spot migrating songbirds such as the yellow-rumped warbler and northern waterthrush. These migrants use the river's greenway as a stopping place on their journey north. Later in the summer, look for nesting field birds throughout these preserves. Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows and red-tailed hawks are commonly seen in the more open area. Wood ducks, scarlet tanagers and ovenbirds use woodlands for nesting.

© Kim Karpeles

Preserve News

2015 Picnic Shelter Reservations Now Open
ALERT: Trail Closures
Preserve safety tips

Upcoming Events

Nov 22 Forest Fitness