Plan Your Visit


If traveling by car, you can use the Half Day Rd exit on I-94 and travel east to Sheridan Road. To reach the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve’s parking lot on Patten Road, starting from Highwood’s city center on Sheridan Road and Waukegan Avenue:

  • Turn east onto Walker Avenue to head towards the lakeshore.
  • Turn left (north) at  Patten Road (Fort Sheridan Avenue) past the large brick and metal gates.
  • Continue north on Patten Road, passing through the Navy’s Forest City neighborhood.
  • Continue north through the round-a-bout and then look for the Preserve’s parking lot on the left. The parking lot is located just south of the Patten Road bridge, before the stop sign at Whistler Road.
  • The south parking lot is located at the intersection of Walker Ave and Oak Street

If you are traveling on the Metra Union Pacific North line, the Lakeshore Preserve is approximately a mile-long walk from either the Highwood or Fort Sheridan stations. The west access point of Bartlett Ravine and the Bartlett Ravine stairs are accessible from the Fort Sheridan stop, and the southern access of the Hamill Family Upland Trail is accessible from the Highwood stop.


Things to know:

  • The Preserve is open from 6:30am to sunset.
  • Please park in designated parking lots only, and pay attention to street parking signs or risk being towed.
  • Please do touch gently, smell deeply, and look closely, and enjoy your visit! Please don’t pick plants or seeds, take rocks, leave behind litter, trample beach plants, or climb slopes and trees.
  • Leashed dogs are welcome on all paths within the preserve; please pick up after them with the waste bags provided at stations along the trails. Dogs are not allowed, however, on the lakefront because of our state endangered and threatened plant communities.
  • Bicycles are welcome on all paved paths. Please stay to the right, watch your speed, and be careful of pedestrians.
  • State fishing regulations apply.
  • For your own safety, the following are strictly prohibited: swimming, wading, boating, campfires, camping, hunting, and firearms.
  • In an emergency, please call 911. If you are at the beach, please note your location using the emergency signs located at the base of the bluff.

Please note:

  • Weather can be variable near the lake, so please dress in layers for the weather, wear sturdy walking shoes, and bring sun and/or insect protection as needed.
  • There are no drinking water facilities available on site.
  • The connection linking the Hamill Family Trail (bluff-top trail) from the Sun Central overlook to the trail section north of Schenck Ravine’s trail bridge is currently undeveloped. There are sidewalks through the adjoining neighborhood owned by the Navy.
  • Wedding ceremonies, receptions, and events are not permitted at the Preserve because it is a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve.

The Fine PrintOpenlands Lakeshore Preserve General Use Policy

For more information, please contact