Preserve open daily from 6:30 am to sunset.
Independence Grove offers outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered on a 115-acre lake. Surrounding prairie and woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, picnicking and other fun activities.
Pets not permitted
With the exception of service animals, dogs, horses and other pets are not permitted in this preserve.
Open 9 am to 4:30 pm daily, unless otherwise posted.
This dramatic building offers panoramic views of the lake and preserve. The open interior offers banquet and meeting space, a classroom, nature and history exhibits, and a cafe (open summer only).
Millennia Plaza's amphitheater, fountain and native garden makes an ideal setting for a variety of special programs, events and outdoor celebrations. The Native Garden boasts lush flowers and foliage, a sculptured fountain, wooden pergola and gazebo, wood and wrought iron benches and winding red brick walkways. Volunteer gardeners help tend to its seasonal needs. The garden also shows homeowners how to create their own beautiful landscapes using low-maintenance native plants.
Closed for the season. Reopening 2014.
Snacks, light entrees, beverages and ice cream are available from a convenient walk-up window on the north side of the Visitors Center.
Marina, Boat & Bike Rentals
Closed for the season. Reopening 2014
Rent a canoe, kayak, foot and hand-powered paddle boats, fishing boat, comfort bike, surrey bicycle or adaptive trikes. Helmets provided.
Boat and bike renters must be 16 years of age or older; however, participants 12–15 years of age may rent boats and/or bikes with a signature of a parent or guardian who is present on Preserve grounds. There are no age restrictions for passengers. View rental fees. The Marina concession also offers bait, tackle, and fishing licenses.
Personal watercraft are not allowed on the lake at Independence Grove.
Closed for the season. Reopening 2014.
The beach offers 400 feet of sand along the lake's South Bay. An adjacent beach house offers washrooms, showers and lockers. Beach chairs and shade umbrellas available to rent. View admission fees.
Lifeguards are on duty when the beach is open. For the safety of visitors and resident wildlife, inflatable items are not permitted. For those with limited mobility, a beach wheelchair that rolls over the sand and into the water with the assistance of a caregiver is available upon request and is free of charge.
Available at the Visitors Center. While they may not be used for permits or merchandise, they never expire and can be used for:
- beach admission, umbrella and chair rentals
- boat and bike rentals at the marina
- parking fee for non Lake County residents
A sensory-rich play environment with state-of-the-art handicap-adaptable play equipment and wide paved pathways make access comfortable and enjoyable for all visitors. Located adjacent to the Visitors Center.
North Bay Pavilion
Situated on the scenic North Bay, this striking pavilion and adjacent open area are perfect for a corporate picnic, outdoor wedding, family reunion or other lakeside event. The pavilion accommodates up to 500 people and offers a stone fireplace, picnic tables, drinking water, electricity, parking, toilets, trail access, fishing pier, playfield and sand volleyball court. For rental and catering arrangements, call Picnics, Inc at 847-966-6555.
We've transformed a sterile quarry with step sides into a rich aquatic ecosystem with gently graded slopes and underwater islands. Musky, northern pike, black crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill and yellow perch are found here. Game fish are periodically stocked. A mandatory catch-and-release fishing program makes it recreational for anglers and beneficial for nature. Anglers are encouraged to use barbless, non-stainless steel hooks.
State fishing licenses are required and are available at the Marina (open seasonally), along with nightcrawlers and a limited stock of tackle. Fishing is not permitted in the preserve's south bay.
The preserve offers roughly 6.25 miles of trails. The Lakeside Trail (2.3 miles) offers a crushed granite surface ideal for hiking and jogging. The Overlook Trail (2.5 miles) runs through scenic areas of the preserve. Its paved surface is designed for in-line skating, biking and other general uses. Two shorter trails connect with the Lakeside and Overlook trails. The South Bay Trail Loop (0.7 miles) is paved, while the North Bay Trail Loop (0.75 miles) has combined asphalt and gravel sections. A short section of the Des Plaines River Trail connects to preserve trails. View trail map.
Bring your own canoe or kayak and launch it on the Des Plaines River. The canoe launch, located near the North Bay Pavilion, offers shoreline fishing, a trail connection to the Des Plaines River Trail, and parking. If you put in here, the next ramp, Oak Spring Road Canoe Launch, is 2.7 miles downstream.
Free for Lake County residents; $5 per car for nonresidents Mon–Thu, $10 Fri, Sat, Sun and holidays.
During the annual Events in the Plaza summer music series, parking is $5 per car after 5 pm on concert days (Tuesdays, or rain date Thursdays) for concertgoers and all other preserve visitors. Cars are turned away when parking is full.
Lake County residents can purchase a vehicle window sticker to bypass stopping to show the required proof of county residency on each visit. Just point out your sticker to the gate attendant and they'll wave you through. The sticker is good for the life of the vehicle's window and is non-transferrable. Fee is $5 and available for purchase at the Visitors Center.