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Top 5 Winter Hikes in Lake County

We all know that winter can be cold (some a little more than others…) but we also know that it can be beautiful.  Spring is just around the corner, so take advantage of the unique sunsets, the stunning scenery of a snow covered forest or the peaceful silence of a winter hike. Here’s a list of our top 5 Winter Hikes in Lake County and the reasons why:

Des Plaines River Trail
This trail is a favorite year round.  It runs from Cook County through Lake County, into Wisconsin.  But the best part about this trail is the beautiful views of the Des Plaines River, and as it begins to thaw, the whole scenery begins to change.  This trail looks different every time you take it, and wildlife is everywhere!  Watch for beavers, frogs and deer. Oh my!  Catch a bit of the trail anywhere throughout its north/south path.  Park at Independence Grove and enjoy the open views of beautiful frozen lakes or explore the southern stretch that runs through the Ryerson Conservation Area, and be sure to look into registering for a Maple Syrup Hike to learn where our beloved pancake topper comes from!
See Full Map

Lakewood Trail in Wauconda
The Lakewood Forest Preserve makes the list for a few reasons. 1- It’s home to the Lake County Discovery Museum, so you can stop in after your hike to warm up and see some interactive displays about Lake County’s history.  2- Lakewood offers lighted trails!  Enjoy an evening hike on trails that are lit by solar lights (scheduled to run through March 30). 3- Bring your four legged friend with you and let them off the leash in the designated dog recreation area.  4.- And don’t forget the outdoor winter activity area where the whole family will love sledding in the lighted outdoor area until 9 p.m.
Sledding at Lakewood
Info on Dog Recreation Area
See Full Map

Illinois State Beach Trail along Lake Michigan in Zion
Illinois Beach provides excellent hiking and stunning views of the unique landscape of the shores of frozen Lake Michigan.  The southern part of the park features 5 miles of trails, including a 2.2-mile loop trail with a graveled surface. In the north, Camp Logan Trail is a 1.8-mile multi-use loop that cross-country skiers also can use (Cross-country skiing is not allowed in the nature preserve).  More Info

Hastings Trail in Lake Villa
A lot of work has gone into making this one of Lake County’s most recently updated trails, and we love it!  This is a great option if you have any little ones with you because they have different lengths of trails to try and restroom facilities.   http://www.lcfpd.org/docs/media_pub_40526.pdf

Fox River Preserve & Marina
The Fox River is best known for its summer fun, but take a quiet stroll along its peaceful winter shores, and you’ll get to see a whole new side of this natural landscape.  Find yourself with one of  Illinois’ greatest summer attractions all to yourself, and don’t forget your camera for this one!  See Map

But sometimes the best place to enjoy a winter walk is just around the corner.  Find a list of all Lake County’s forest Preserves here, and go exploring!  I recently took my own winter walk at Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve and I can’t wait to go back.  See Pictures of my Winter Pictures of a Day at Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve

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