24255 N Hwy 21
Vernon Hills,IL 60060
241 acres
6:30 am to sunset, daily.

Half Day

This quiet and clean preserve features a 1-mile trail for hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our Off-Leash Dog Areas (permit required).

Half Day also offers 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. 



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More About This Preserve

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 shape 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.


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 entrance is 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).

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