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Rollins Savanna

Construction Alert | Last Update Oct 17, 2014

Transmission line improvements
Through the end of this year, ComEd will be working on improving the existing overhead transmission lines in their Right-of-Way. Trails will remain open. Please use caution, slow down and look for work crews along the way.


Rollins Savanna is one of Lake County's largest forest preserves with 1,220 uninterrupted acres. Scattered groves of large oaks, wide-open prairies teeming with wildflowers and native grasses, and abundant wetlands offer the perfect setting for grassland birds and other wildlife.

A 5.5-mile trail with bridges and boardwalks encircles the site. This multi-use trail is open for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and nature and wildlife observation. This preserve also offers a native seed nursery, parking, toilets, drinking fountain and a bridge crossing over Mill Creek. Snowmobiles can parallel a small section of the trail as they pass through the preserve.

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Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve is located in central Lake County in Grayslake.

The main entrance is located on Washington Street at Atkinson Road, just west of Route 45 and east of Route 83. [View on Google maps

A second entrance is located on Drury Lane. 



Rollins Savanna was acquired in phases between 1988 and 1993. Extensive work to renovate this unique preserve to restore its valuable ecosystems and provide outdoor recreation and nature and history education opportunities was completed in 2004.


The Natural Scene

Our natural resource crews and project partners have been working to restore this unique preserve to enhance its valuable ecosystems. More than 450 acres of former farmland have been restored as part of a massive habitat restoration and preservation project here, representing the largest restoration effort we've ever undertaken.

Unique to Rollins Savanna is its large size, uninterrupted by roads and development, and its existing diverse natural resource features. Rich black soils found at this preserve once dominated Midwestern landscape in the 1800s. The preserve protects the south fork of Mill Creek, frontage on Third Lake and large interior wetland complexes that provide needed food sources and rest stops for ruddy ducks, blue-winged teal, great blue herons, egrets and a variety of waterfowl species. Grassland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife are drawn to the site’s oak savannas and expansive prairies and wetlands.

Extensive habitat restoration efforts were completed along the Mill Creek corridor and on over 200 acres of wetlands. One of the project goals is to establish Rollins Savanna as an ecological research site and outdoor classroom for local universities, schools and other organizations.

Birder's Field of Dreams

Rollins Savanna is named an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society due to the large number of endangered yellow-headed blackbirds that have found refuge here. Dubbed a “Birder’s Field of Dreams,” the preserve is favored by bird watchers.

A bird observation area near the Drury Lane parking area provides a safe, accessible way for all of our visitors to view and enjoy birds. This observation area consists of a stone path that provides access from the existing preserve trail system to a raised platform. This observation deck is a gathering space that offers a clear view of the adjacent grassland and wetland.

The deck features magnified viewing scopes. Interpretive signs inform visitors about habitat and species they might see from that vantage point. Oak trees around the seating area provide shade for visitors using the observation deck and also help them blend into the landscape to create less of a disturbance to wildlife using that habitat.

Rollins Savanna (c) Kim Karpeles

Preserve News

Preserve safety tips
Board approves 100-year Vision and Strategic Plan
Board approves 100-year vision

Preserve Improvements

Millennium Trail and Greenway Improvements