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Play in the Snow at the Lake County Forest Preserves

With the first day of spring just around the corner, final opportunities to have fun in the snow this winter season are winding down. March 20th marks the first official day of spring, but fear not, snow enthusiasts, because tomorrow Lake County is expecting between 4 and 12 inches of snow. Amid temperatures predicted to rise above 40 degrees this weekend, we have a few suggestions on how to make use of this snowfall opportunity.

The Lake County Forest Preserve is the ideal place to enjoy winter fun with over 29,200 acres of land and 154 miles of trail to take an evening hike, go shedding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice skating, ice fishing and more.

  • For an evening hike along the solar lighted trails, the forest preserve will have extended hours from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. through March 9. To access the lighted trails, park at either Lakewood’s Winter Sports Area or at the Old School’s main entrance lot off of Route 176.
  • Sled hills are also located at Lakewood in Wauconda and Old School in Libertyville, but snowboards, metal runners and toboggans are not permitted.
  • Cross-country skiers can enjoy groomed trails typically after a large snow fall at Lakewood, Old School and the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods permitting a 4-inch snow-base.
  • Over 24 miles of designated trails are available for Snowmobiling with a minimum of a 4-inch snow base. Trails begin at Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve in Grayslake and at the Des Plaines River Trail. Snowmobile trails are open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Ice skating and ice fishing is permitted with a 4.5-inch layer of ice at Independence Grove from 6:30 a.m. until sunset. For ice fishing, only two poles are allowed and holes must be drilled eight inches or smaller.

For the most up-to-date local conditions, The Lake County Forest Preserve has a 24-hour winter sports hotline at 847-968-3235 featuring a recorded message conveying current trail and ice conditions for sledding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating.

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