Visiting the Independence Grove Forest Preserve

Living in Libertyville, there’s a great deal of outdoor activities available.

One of my favorite spots to spend a sunny day is the Independence Grove Forest Preserve.

It is a scenic forest area centered around a 115-acre lake. The area is really beautiful at all times of year. Even when the winter brings freezing temperatures, the snow can be gorgeous and a lot of fun. The lake is the main attraction and was created from a former gravel quarry. It is ideal for swimming, fishing and boating. The fishing is all catch-and-release and there are boat rentals available. I like to hike or bring my bike along. There’s around seven miles of trails that connect to the Des Plaines River Trail and some really beautiful native gardens. For refreshments, the Visitor Center offers an outdoor walk-up cafe. It is a 19,000 square foot building where there’s changing exhibits to see. I usually pack my own food and take advantage of the shaded picnic grove. Sometimes, I bring my dog along and take advantage of the Lake County Forest Preserve Dog Exercise Area. My dog absolutely loves the ability to run around and play with other dogs. I recently learned that a beer garden is going to open where there used to be a public beach. The beach house was apparently too expensive to maintain. The new venture will offer locally brewed draft beer, hard cider, lemonade, a variety of other beverages, snacks and picnic tables with a lakefront setting. I’m looking forward to it. After a long day on the lake or hiking through the woods, a beer with friends would be the perfect conclusion.


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