Rollins Savanna

WHERE IS THIS?
20160 West Washington Street
Grayslake,IL 60030
Acerage:
1,253 acres
Hours:
6:30 am–sunset, daily.

Rollins Savanna

One of Lake County's largest forest preserves, Rollins Savanna offers the perfect setting for grassland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife.

Trails

A 7.75-mile gravel trail with bridges and boardwalks winds through wetlands, groves of large oaks and open prairies teeming with wildflowers and native grasses. The trail is open for hiking, bicycling and cross-country skiing. A connection to our regional Millennium Trail, and to the Grayslake Bike Path and Prairie Crossing Trail, are also available from this preserve. 

A successful partnership with the Village of Gurnee allowed us to extend the existing trail system in the northeast part of Rollins Savanna to Route 45 and Dada Drive and provide a safe crossing for trails users. This 0.4-mile gravel trail connects the Village's bike path and several residential areas to the preserve and to the Millennium Trail so people can extend their recreation experience. 

Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Learn about our off-leash Dog Parks (permit required).

Native Seed Nursery

Rare and hard-to-collect seeds of different native species are carefully grown here. The nursery gives our restoration ecologists access to these rare plants that were previously cost prohibitive or unavailable. We use the plants grown here to restore native habitat through the forest preserves. 

Groups, adults, and families with children ages 10 and up are welcome to volunteer at the nursery. Learn how to become a volunteer

Birder's Field of Dreams

Rollins Savanna is named an "Important Bird Area" by the National Audubon Society due to the large number of endangered yellow-headed blackbirds that find refuge here. Dubbed a “Birder’s Field of Dreams,” the preserve is favored by birdwatchers.

Bird Observation Area

Located near the Drury Lane parking area, a stone path off the preserve trail provides access to a raised earthen platform with a clear view of the adjacent grassland and wetland. It's an ideal spot for birdwatching. Bring your own binoculars or use the magnified viewing scopes provided. Learn more »

Interpretive signs inform visitors about habitat and species they might see from that vantage point. Oak trees around the seating area provide shade for visitors using the observation deck and also help them blend into the landscape to create less of a disturbance to wildlife using that habitat.

Activities

Amenities

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More About This Preserve

The Natural Scene

Unique to Rollins Savanna is its large size, uninterrupted by roads and development, and its existing diverse natural resource features. Rich black soils found at this preserve once dominated Midwestern landscape in the 1800s. The preserve protects the south fork of Mill Creek, frontage on Third Lake, and large interior wetland complexes that provide needed food sources and rest stops for ruddy ducks, blue-winged teal, great blue herons, egrets and a variety of waterfowl species. Grassland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife are drawn to the site’s oak savannas and expansive prairies and wetlands.

Extensive habitat restoration efforts were completed along the Mill Creek corridor and on over 200 acres of wetlands. One of the project goals is to establish Rollins Savanna as an ecological research site and outdoor classroom for local universities, schools and other organizations.

History

Rollins Savanna was acquired in phases between 1988 and 1993. Extensive work to renovate this unique preserve to restore its valuable ecosystems and provide outdoor recreation and nature and history education opportunities was completed in 2004.

Our natural resource crews and project partners restored this unique preserve to enhance its valuable ecosystems. More than 450 acres of former farmland were restored as part of a massive habitat restoration and preservation project here, representing the largest restoration effort we've ever undertaken.

Location

The main entrance is located on Washington Street at Atkinson Road, just west of Route 45 and east of Route 83. A second entrance is located to the north on Drury Lane.

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