WHERE IS THIS?
27277 Forest Preserve Road
Wauconda,IL 60084
Acreage:
2,835 acres
Hours:
6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Lakewood

Lakewood is Lake County’s largest forest preserve, offering trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, dedicated equestrian trails, and biking along sections of the regional Millennium Trail and Fort Hill Trail. These regional trails allow for continuous travel and easy passage under Route 176 and Fairfield Road.

Other preserve amenities include a Dog Exercise Area, a lighted Winter Sports Area with ice skating area and sled hill and a variety of fishing ponds.

Biking is only permitted on the regional trail sections. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Off-leash options exist within any of the Dog Exercise Areas (permit required).

Active Projects | Lakewood

Lakewood Master Plan Improvements in Progress

Our Board of Commissioners approved a master plan for Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda in January 2020. When all work is implemented, the improvements will provide improved accessibility and a more enjoyable experience. The preserve will be properly sized, accommodate future needs and reduces short- and long-term operating costs. Work to prepare the site for construction took place from 2021 to early 2023 and included removal of undesirable vegetation and unneeded infrastructure. Engineering, architectural design, gaining permits, and bid solicitation also took place.

Global supply chain issues and construction industry volatility delayed the timing of the projects. The Net-Zero Facility ground breaking occurred in September 2023. Construction of the Phase I site improvements began in November 2023. Expected completion and a public opening are planned for spring 2025. Want Progress Updates? Email Lakewood@LCFPD.org.

Please note that while portions of roads remain closed during construction, all trails, existing parking lots and open areas south of Ivanhoe Road will remain open and available for exploration. Thank you for your patience during construction.

Approved Master Plan   Executive Summary

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Project Background

In 2018, we initiated the master planning process to evaluate existing conditions and uses of Lakewood. The plan identified potential recreation, education and conservation improvements for the preserve. Learn more »

Project Area
Acquired in 1968, Lakewood has 2,835 acres and is the largest forest preserve in Lake County. It contains a diverse mix of land uses, facilities and natural resources. When combined with adjacent 1,039-acre Ray Lake Forest Preserve, contiguous holdings in this area total 3,874 acres or over six square miles. Lakewood is located east of Wauconda and lies within parts of Wauconda and Fremont Townships. The preserve is intersected by Illinois Route 176, Ivanhoe Road and Fairfield Road.

Project Goals and Objectives 
The new master plan for Lakewood supports the methods and systems needed to reach our 100-Year Vision and Strategic Plan by providing leadership and sound conservation practices, and by promoting an active, healthy lifestyle for people of all abilities to enjoy.

  • Provide an improved public access and recreation experience that is ADA compliant, properly sized, accommodates future needs, and reduces short-term and long-term operating costs.
  • Provide a new, more efficient design that consolidates uses within a smaller footprint, supports educational programs and community events, and satisfies current and future public access needs.
  • Replace and/or renovate critical operational infrastructure.
  • Dedicate new areas for restoration consistent with natural resource goals.

Questions or Comments? Contact Director of Planning Kevin Kleinjan at 847-968-3429 or via email: Lakewood@LCFPD.org

Shelters are unavailable at this time.

Activities

Amenities

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More About This Preserve

The Natural Scene

Lakewood is home to 24 threatened and endangered species. On the west side of the preserve is the 70-acre Wauconda Bog. It is ringed by poison sumac and a natural moat, and is so ecologically valuable it is designated as a National Natural Landmark and an Illinois Nature Preserve. 

Other natural areas of note are Broberg Marsh and Schreiber Lake Bog. Broberg Marsh is in the northwest portion of the preserve and is regionally renowned for its habitat, which supports wetland-specific breeding birds. The wetland provides nesting habitat for six state endangered bird species including Amerian bitterns, black terns, common moorhen, black-crowned night herons, common terns and yellow-headed blackbirds.

Schreiber Lake Bog is in the southeast portion of the preserve and supports habitat for several endangered and threatened norther boreal bog plant species. 

This landscape is a mixture of oak woods, wetlands and fields. You'll also find farmlands and groves of evergreens. A lot of wildlife lives here and if you're observant, you may even spot one of the bats from the colony living near Shelter E. These shy mammals sleep while picnickers have their fun, and then awake at dusk to eat thousands of mosquitoes and other bugs.

History

From roughly 1835 to 1865, this site's large forested areas were divided into smaller parcels used by local farmers as a source of firewood and lumber. After the Civil War, small farms dominated the property.

In 1937, Malcolm Boyle, a general contractor from Chicago, made his first of many purchases here and created Lakewood Farms, a country estate. Over the next 20 years, his farm became one of Lake County's largest, with livestock, orchards, gardens and crops. Boyle landscaped the ponds, dug Banana Lake and built 16 major buildings.

In 1961, Howard Quinn purchased the 1,250-acre farm and converted it into a large dairy ranch, which operated until 1965. In 1968, our acquisition at Lakewood began and has continued in stages for more than 30 years. You can still identify the large show barn, the chicken coop and the bull barn.

Location

The main entrance for the preserve is on Route 176, just west of Fairfield Road.

The entrance for Shelters A and B, and horse and snowmobile trailer parking is on Ivanhoe Road, just west of Fairfield Road.

The entrance for the Winter Sports Area and Millennium Trail and Fort Hill Trail access is on the east side of Fairfield Road just south of Route 176.

The Dog Park entrance is on the east side of Fairfield Road just north of Route 176. An annual or daily permit and a dog are required for entry.

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