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Illuminate Your Nights: Lighted Trails Unveiled for Fall and Winter Seasons

October 19, 2023 12:13 PM
© Nat Carmichael

Struggling to enjoy nature with the earlier sunsets? Starting Sunday, November 5, explore two Lake County forest preserves under the soft glow of solar-lit trails.

Small solar lights guide the way so hikers, skiers and snowshoers can get some evening exercise along the 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Mettawa, and along a hilly 1.65-mile section of the Millennium Trail adjacent to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.

"Walking the trails after the sun goes down provides a unique experience in the forest preserves," said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. "Our data show that forest preserve visitors are using the trails more than ever for recreation and as a way to improve their well-being."

The solar lights serve as a guide along the trails. Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight or headlamp for added illumination.

Though regular preserve hours are 6:30 am to sunset, the illuminated trails and adjacent parking lots will remain open until 9 pm daily through Sunday, March 10. Bicycles and horses are not permitted on the solar-lit trails after sunset. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.

To access the lighted trails, park at Lakewood's Winter Sports Area located on the east side of Fairfield Road just south of Route 176, or at Old School's main entrance lot located on the east side of St. Mary's Road south of Route 176. Lake County Forest Preserves Police Rangers regularly patrol the areas.

Join an educator for guided evening hikes on solar-lit trails, learn about the site's history and the animals that are active at dusk:

View maps of the solar-lit trails: Old School or Winter Sports Area at Lakewood.