Locally known as Jensen Woods, this 86-acre preserve straddles the Lake Forest–Lake Bluff border and connects two community natural areas.
Running along the length of the Skokie River, the preserve sits directly between Lake Bluff Open Lands Association’s (LBOLA) Skokie River Prairie to the north and Lake Forest Open Lands Association’s Skokie River Nature Preserve to the south. Visitors can access Oriole Grove from either of these two local natural areas.
Within Oriole Grove there are 1.35 miles of grass trails, making it a great place for hiking and cross-country skiing. Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).
Trails at Oriole Grove are maintained by LBOLA. For questions about the trails, or to report trail safety or maintenance issues, please contact LBOLA at 847-234-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The preserve was originally a private estate for rail magnate William V. Kelley, who purchased the property in the early 1900s from John Mines, an immigrant farmer from Ireland. Hired to design the landscape was Jens Jensen, one of the most significant landscape architects in Chicago history.
Jen Jensen's preliminary sketch of the Kelley estate grounds.
The preserve includes an old growth oak-hickory woodland, which features a large grove of massive bur and white oaks estimated to be over 220 years old. There is also an oak-basswood woodland and two grassland areas with remnant and restored prairie, including “Birch Prairie.”
Jensen excavated the large kidney-shaped pond to match a smaller one next to Green Bay Road. The pond’s good water quality supports regionally uncommon fish. Jensen also lined banks of the Skokie River with Wisconsin Lannon Stone for a touch of class.
The preserve serves as a keystone in a larger landscape of 240 acres of protected natural areas with Lake Bluff Open Lands, Lake Forest Open Lands and private landowners owning the rest. Approximately 40 acres are dedicated as State Nature Preserve status.
Parking is not available at Oriole Grove Forest Preserve.
Parking and trail access is available only from the Skokie River Prairie on Route 176, west of Green Bay Road in Lake Bluff, or the Skokie River Nature Preserve on the west end of Laurel Avenue, west of Green Bay Road in Lake Forest.
Please follow the rules specific to Lake Bluff Open Lands and Lake Forest Open Lands when using their properties.
Download our free mobile app for your iPhone, Android or iPad to view other preserve and trail maps.
Before heading out, check the current status of trail underpasses. Also...
While enjoying activities outside, don’t forget to take action to prevent...
Use our NEW interactive trail map to help navigate your next adventure...
Safeguard against auto burglary. When property is left unlocked or in plain...
Explore designated trails in scenic preserves.
Cold weather brings winter fun in your forest preserves.