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Recreation Activities

Horseback Riding


Over 82 miles of trails are open to horseback riding throughout the Lake County Forest Preserves. Some trails are completely dedicated to equestrian use. Most are shared multiuse trails. 

Privately owned wheeled horse carts and gigs can use any trail designated for horseback riding.

Sleighs can use Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve, which is also used by dog sledders and skijorers. 

An annual or daily permit is required to ride a horse on forest preserve trails. Equestrian trails are available at the following locations. Visit our Trail Maps page for more details.

Des Plaines River Trail

Horses can ride along the entire 31.4-mile Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) and designated trails within three connecting preserves:

  • Captain Daniel Wright Woods, Mettawa––Riding permitted along the preserve's 2.7 mile Yellow Loop trail and 0.6-mile Blue Loop trail.
  • Old School, Libertyville––Riding permitted along the preserve's 1.9-mile gravel trail. Horses are not permitted on the preserve's paved trail loop, lake loop trail, and fitness trail loop.
  • Van Patten Woods, Wadsworth––Riding permitted along the preserve's 2.4-mile Blue Loop trail, 1.7-mile Yellow Loop trail, and 1-mile Green trail. Horses must travel around, not over, the two boardwalks.

Fort Hill Trail

A 3.7-mile segment of the Fort Hill Trail is open to horseback riding. This section of the trail links Lakewood and Ray Lake forest preserves, both located in Wauconda and open to equestrians. A trail tunnel at Gilmer Road offers trail users a safe connection between the two preserves. The closest horse trailer parking is at Lakewood.


Nine miles of mowed trails at Lakewood in Waconda are designated for horseback riding. Closest parking is on Brown Road, south of Ivanhoe Road.

Millennium Trail and Greenway

Lakewood to Singing Hills section

Horseback riding is permitted only along a 11-mile section of gravel trail from Lakewood north to the horse trailer parking area at Singing Hills in Volo. From here, the trail surface changes from gravel to paved, and horses are not permitted on the paved section.

Raven Glen

You'll be taken in by this preserve's rolling hills and scenic vistas. Two separate entrances and trail systems are divided by Timber Lake. Trails east and west of Timber Lake do not connect. Raven Glen's main entrance is on Route 45 south of Route 173, and offers 1.9 miles of grass trails designated for horseback riding only. Raven Glen's west entrance is on Route 173 west of Savage Road, and offers a 2.12-mile gravel trail open for horseback riding.

Ray Lake

Equestrians will enjoy 1.4 miles of trails that wind around wetlands, open prairies and a scenic overlook. In addition, horses can connect here to a section of the Fort Hill Trail between Ray Lake and Lakewood forest preserves. The nearest horse trailer parking is at adjacent Lakewood, with access to Ray Lake via the Fort Hill Trail.

Singing Hills

Singing Hills serves as an important trail hub for the Lakewood to Singing Hills section of the Millennium Trail and offers horse trailer parking.

Permit Required

An annual or daily permit is required to ride a horse on forest preserve trails.

Annual Permits

Annual permits are valid for the calendar year only, and are not prorated. Permits are not transferable. A bridle tag is issued with each permit and must be securely attached to the upper left bridle or halter of the registered horse. Lost tags may be replaced for $5. Call us at 847-367-6640 for details.

When purchased from September 1–November 30, permits are reduced and valid through the end of the year. Proceeds from equestrian permit fees are used for construction and maintenance of horseback riding trails.

Annual Permit Fee
$50 per horse (up to 3 total), Lake County residents  
$100 per horse (up to 3 total), nonresidents  
Annual Permit Fee: Reduced price Sep 1–Nov 30
$25 per horse (up to 3 total), Lake County residents  
$50 per horse (up to 3 total), nonresidents  

Daily Permits

To check out our trails, or for spur-of-the-moment visits, a daily permit allows you and your horse one day's access to all horseback riding trails. Purchase in advance online, or at self-pay stations located in the horse trailer parking lots at Lakewood, Raven Glen and Van Patten Woods forest preserves. Fill out the form, drop a copy with exact cash or check in the box, and attach the completed permit tag to your horse's bridle or halter.

Daily Permit Fees
$5 per horse (up to 3 total), Lake County residents  
$10 per horse (up to 3 total), nonresidents  

How to Purchase

Using the Horse Trails

For everyone's safety and enjoyment, please adhere to the following rules, regulations and restrictions. Violation may result in a fine or suspension of permit use. For questions or a complete list of rules, you can view all ordinances governing the use of preserves and trails, or call 847-549-5200 and ask to speak to a Ranger.


For everyone's safety and enjoyment, please follow these rules of common sense and courtesy:
  1. Keep on marked trails.

  2. Ride on the right, allowing space on the left for others to pass.

  3. Horses yield to hikers and cross-country skiers.

  4. Alert others when passing from behind.

  5. Rider shall stay on established trails and slow to a walk upon meeting other riders or hikers.

  6. Horses must be kept under control and ridden at permitted gaits: walk, trot or slow canter.



  1. An annual or daily permit is required for use of equestrian trails. Use at your own risk. Display permit bridle tag at all times on your horse's bridle or halter. Permits are not transferable.

  2. Park in horse trailer parking lots only. Loitering in lots is prohibited. Vehicles left after closing will be towed at owner’s expense.

  3. It is unlawful with the Lake County Forest Preserves for any person to:

    • treat a horse cruelly or knowingly permit such treatment.
    • drive or lead a horse that is vicious, unmanageable or physically unfit for riding.
    • drive a horse in such a manner as to injure or endanger the person or property.
    • drive a horse that is not adequately or safely equipped for use.
    • possess or consume alcoholic beverages on any trail.
    • race horses.
  4. Violation of rules, regulations or restrictions may result in a fine and/or suspension of permit use.

Ordinance violations and fineable offenses:

  1. Control your horse and maintain permitted gaits: walk, trot or slow canter for horseback riding, and walk for horse-drawn vehicles.

  2. You are responsible for any injury or damage to other horses or to the public caused by your horse.

For Assistance or to Report a Problem:


Van Patten Woods »
Enter parking lot on south side of Russell Road, first of three lots east of Route 41.

DPRT––Half Day »
Parking lot north of Shelter B.

Lakewood »
Brown Road.

Old School »
Shelter E parking lot.

Raven Glen »
Main entrance lot off Route 45 south of Route 173.

Millennium Trail––Singing Hills »
Fish Lake and Gilmer Roads.

Sedge Meadow »
Wadsworth Road.


Check the current status (open/closed) of trails and underpasses along the Des Plaines River Trail, the Millennium Trail, community trail connections, and preserve trails marked on the map below. Public access is restricted at closed trails and underpasses.



Townline Stables located in the Grainger Woods Conservation Preserve offers boarding and riding lessons for boarders.