A scenic destination, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve offers a variety of opportunities to recreate in nature. Fort Sheridan is one of only a few places in Lake County that offers free public access to Lake Michigan and an awe-inspiring lake overlook perched on a 70-foot-high bluff. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, fishing, picnicking and birdwatching.
Trails connect visitors to self-guided educational exhibits along Fort Sheridan's historic parade ground and to other viewing stations. Rolling terrain, bluffs, ravines and mature trees make it a hiker's paradise. Trails wind through the preserve to Lake Michigan, providing the first official public access to this section of shoreline since 1887. Known for its pristine natural areas, Fort Sheridan is home to several rare species not found elsewhere in the region. The preserve's savanna, ravines and lakefront location allow visitors to observe one of North America’s busiest flyways for migratory birds, with at least 236 species of birds being seen here.
Trails include 3.65 paved miles for recreation (hiking, biking, cross-country skiing) and nature observation, along with Fort Sheridan's story through self-guided educational exhibits.
1-mile Hutchinson Trail runs from Sheridan Road along Hutchinson Ravine to Lake Michigan, and features interpretive exhibits and viewing stations along the route.
0.2-mile Lake Overlook Trail runs from the Gilgare Lane parking lot along the top of the bluff to the pond and lake overlook.
0.75-mile Parade Grounds Trail runs from the Gilgare Lane parking lot to the Parade Grounds (National Historic Landmark), and features interpretive exhibits and views of the surrounding Fort Historic District.
Ideal for birdwatching, the 1.7-mile Birding Trail Loop is accesseible from both parking lots and has connections to the other trails. It brings visitors over Janes Ravine, past the Army cemetery, and through woodlands and savanna to the top of the lake bluff. It is open for hiking and cross-country skiing only. Visitors can also walk along a 0.75-mile stretch of sandy Lake Michigan shoreline. The shoreline is also great for fishing, birding, picnicking or relaxing. Swimming, wading, and boating are not allowed.
Trails at Fort Sheridan also tie into other regional trail systems including the 20-mile McClory Trail, which runs north and south along Sheridan Road, and the 11-mile North Shore Path, which runs west along Route 176 from Sheridan Road. From the North Shore Path, trail users can connect to the Des Plaines River Trail near Libertyville and the Millennium Trail near Mundelein.
Learn more at: www.LCFPD.org/fort-sheridan