IL Lake County Forest Preserve Lyons Woods
Lyons Woods - Lake County Forest Preserve - Illinois
Lyons Woods is part of the Lake County Forest Preserve system and has about 2.5 miles of wide crushed-stone trails suitable for hiking, biking, or skiing going through a mix of wetlands, prairie, and woodlands. It contains a connector trail that connects directly to the Robert McClory Bike Path (also known as the North Shore Bike Path).
- Terrain / Scenery: Mainly flat wide crushed stone trail with some gradual grades. Mix of wetlands, prairie, woodlands.
- Fees / Permits: None
- Trail Markings: Maps at key intersections.
- Official Web Page: http://www.lcfpd.org/preserves/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.view&object_id=203&type=P trail map available for download.
- Getting There: Lyons Woods is located between Zion and Waukegan on Blanchard Road just west of Sheridan Road. Click here for Google Map
I've been going to Lyons Woods Forest Preserve for years, but probably would not have been aware of its existence had it not been for the connector to the Robert McClory Bike Path which runs from Kenosha south through Lake County. I regularly make a large biking loop by riding the Robert McClory Bike Path (North Shore Trail in Kenosha), riding the outer loops Through Lyons Woods taking me to Hendee Ave, then riding a couple miles on Sheridan Road (not a very pleasant ride) to connect into Illinois Beach State Park where I ride the trails through the South and North units and then back onto roads riding along the Kenosha Lakefront.
If accessing Lyons Woods from the bike path, there is a large sign right on the trail (I think it's right at the 6-mile marker) pointing the way along with a map of Lyons Woods right at the trailhead. It's a nice side trip into Lyons Woods to take a brake from the straight flatness of the bike path (a rails-to-trails conversion) and enjoy some winding trails with some grades (I wouldn't exactly call them hills but they feel like them compared to the bike path). And though there's only about 2.5 to 3 total miles of trail here, it provides some diverse scenery as it runs through wetlands, prairie, woodlands, and even an area of pines.
Geographically speaking, Lyons Woods is very close (probably only a quarter of a mile) to the far southwest portion of Illinois Beach State Park, unfortunately, you can't get there from here (not legally at least). Hopefully, at some point, the DNR and Lake County will see fit to connect these two parks, but until then (and I wouldn't hold my breath), you would need to work your way North to the main entrance to Illinois Beach on Wadsworth Road. There are various ways to do this, but all of them will force at least a little riding on some busy roads (you can check a map and pick your own route).
If you live right nearby, the trails in Lyons Woods may make for some OK cross-country skiing in the winter, but certainly not worth a drive. And they recently put in a little observation deck in the prairie area in the middle of the trail system (see map), that I'm assuming is for bird watchers. Overall, it's one of those little trail systems that is a nice walking or skiing trail for people in the neighborhood, or a nice side trip on a bike for people riding the nearby Robert McClory Bike Path.
This page is authored and maintained by Dave Piasecki