Dog at Lakewood Off-Leash Dog Area
Open daily, 6:30 am until 7 pm or sunset, whichever is later.
Scheduled Maintenance:
Lakewood Off-Leash Dog Area is CLOSED until 11 am on the first and third Thursdays of the month, April-October.

Off-Leash Dog Area

Lakewood Dog Park

Located in Wauconda, this popular spot is one of five designated Off-Leash Dog Areas within the Lake County Forest Preserves where dogs can run and play off-leash. This Off-Leash Dog Area is part of Lakewood Forest Preserve.

The 66-acre area is entirely fenced and features large open meadows, mowed trails, parking area, toilets, a water hand pump, and a shade shelter. 

View Map

Permit Required

An annual or daily permit and a dog are required for entry. Permits allow access to all five Off-Leash Dog Areas. Daily permits can be purchased in advance via your mobile phone by downloading the Passport Parking app or visiting Self-pay stations for daily permits are not available. 


Entrance is on Fairfield Road, north of Route 176 in Wauconda.


Open daily, 6:30 am until 7 pm or sunset, whichever is later.

Scheduled Maintenance

Lakewood Off-Leash Dog Area is CLOSED until 11 am on the first and third Thursdays of the month, April–October.  

Off-Leash Dog Areas

Using the Off-Leash
Dog Areas

Are there health and safety tips for visiting the Off-Leash Dog Areas?

For your dog's health and safety:

  1. Dogs must be at least 4 months old to visit.
  2. Determine if it's wise for your small dog or puppy to be off-leash with larger dogs.
  3. Dogs must have a current rabies vaccination tag and number, as required by state law. If your dog's vaccination is not current, please call your vet. Consult with your vet regarding other recommended vaccinations or preventives.
  4. The Lake County Health Department's low-cost pet vaccination clinics provide a convenient and affordable way to keep pets current with their shots and rabies tags.
  5. Leave sick dogs home. They are not allowed in the area when ill.
  6. Show your dog you care by asking your vet about visiting here.
  7. Learn about potential health issues, prevention, symptoms and treatment. The Lake County Health Department and the American Veterinary Medical Association offer information and other resources on environmental health and disease prevention.
  8. Make sure your dog is healthy and properly vaccinated against parvovirus and other diseases.
  9. The soil throughout the eastern United States may contain spores that can cause blastomycosis. Chances are small that a dog will inhale them, but knowing symptoms gives time for treatment.

Can I get a refund if my dog does not like the Off-Leash Dog Area?

Refunds are not available but we do recommend purchasing a daily permit first to test the Off-Leash Dog Areas. They are good at all five Off-Leash Dog Areas, so start your day early and discover your favorite.

What if a dog is behaving overly aggressive toward my dog and I don't see the owner?

Call 847-549-5200 and ask to speak to a Ranger.

Is my dog required to wear a Forest Preserve dog tag?

No. Owners must display the annual permit vehicle sticker or the daily permit receipt on their vehicle while at the Off-Leash Dog Area.

Do you spray anything to reduce ticks at the Off-Leash Dog Areas?

We do not spray insecticide or use other methods to control tick populations. They are part of the natural system.

In Illinois, adult ticks are most active in April through June and again in early fall. 

If you are encountering numerous ticks we recommend discussing repellent options with your veterinarian and considering keeping your dog out of areas with tall vegetation during the peak times. We realize this is a challenge at the Off-Leash Dog Areas. On-leash excursions at nearby preserves with crushed limestone trails are an alternative option to reduce tick exposure and during muddy seasons. 

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