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Preserve Use and Trail Courtesy

Ordinances, Rules and Regulations

Most preserves are open 6:30 am–sunset, daily. If a preserve gate is open before 6:30 am, the preserve is considered open for use. Special hours apply at the Dunn Museum, golf courses, Off-Leash Dog Areas, Ryerson Woods, Greenbelt Cultural Center, Independence Grove and the Fox River marina. 

For the safety and enjoyment of all preserve visitors, and to protect wildlife, please follow these general rules and regulations:

  • Stay on the trails.
  • Leave nature as you find it for others to enjoy. 
  • Deposit litter in proper receptacles.
  • Park in lots only. Loitering in lots is prohibited. Vehicles left after closing will be towed at owner’s expense.
  • No alcohol within any parking area, unless otherwise permitted.
  • Wading, swimming, collecting, hunting, firearms (except as permitted by the Concealed Carry Act), releasing animals or non-native plant species, and off-road or motorized vehicles are not permitted.
  • Horses, fishing, ice fishing, snowmobiles, camping, fires, and watercraft are permitted in authorized areas only, and with proper registration or permit, if required. 
  • Dogs are permitted in authorized areas only and must be leashed.
  • Site-specific state fishing regulations apply. Visit for full details. State fishing license required for ages 16 and older. Only worms and minnows permitted as live bait. Dump unwanted bait in trash, not in waterways. Two poles maximum. Line fishing only. Use of barbless, non-stainless steel hooks encouraged.
  • Rangers and other staff regularly patrol the preserves and can offer assistance. For emergencies, call 911. For nonemergency public safety issues, call 847-549-5200 to speak to a Ranger.

View all ordinances, rules and regulations governing the use of preserves, trails and facilities:

Ordinances, Rules and Regulations

Before Heading Out—Check These Maps

  • For preserve trail and underpass closures due to seasonal flooding and related trail repair projects, check this interactive map. Public access is restricted at closed trails and underpasses. Please follow signage, and use caution around closures, construction or detour zones.
  • If a parking lot is full, use this interactive trail map to find another nearby preserve. 

Trail Courtesy

As you share the many multiuse trails in your Lake County Forest Preserves with others, please follow these rules of common sense and be courteous to all trail users:


  • Stay on marked trails. Respect trail and road closures.
  • Leave nature as you find it for others to enjoy.
  • Follow minimum impact practices: pack it in, pack it out, and leave no trace.
  • Deposit litter in proper receptacles.
  • Keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them. Do not leave pet waste on the trails or in parking lots.
  • Ride and walk on the right.
  • Allow space on the left for others to pass.
  • Break into single file when approaching or passing others, and be prepared to stop or step aside to let bicycles and horses safely pass.
  • "On your left." Alert others when passing from behind, especially around corners or in blind spots. 
  • Use caution around horses. Use your voice rather than bicycle bells to announce your presence, and ask the rider if it is okay to pass.
  • When biking or snowmobiling with a group, ride single file only and control your speed at all times, especially around curves. Be prepared to slow down or stop and to announce your presence when approaching other trail users.

Yielding Etiquette

  • Horseback riders yield to pedestrians.
  • Bikers yield to pedestrians and equestrians.
  • Snowmobilers yield to all trail users.