Openlands Lakeshore Preserve

The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is a 77-acre Illinois Nature Preserve in Highland Park, IL that is home to wooded ravines and some of our region’s most magnificent views of Lake Michigan. This privately owned Preserve is open to the public 6:30 am to sunset daily to experience at no charge. The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is home to three unique ecosystems — ravines, bluffs, and lakefront. These rare and fragile ecosystems exist together in only a few places in the region and require our utmost care and respect. 


On two occasions during the week of April 5, 2021, explosive materials were found within the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve. Shortly thereafter, with help from the Highland Park Police Department, the Waukegan Bomb Squad removed the explosives in a safe and secure manner. 

Out of an abundance of caution, as well as the ongoing investigation, Openlands is closing the entire Openlands Lakeshore Preserve to the public until further notice. We ask the public to respect this closure, and do not enter the Preserve at this time.

What to Know Before You Visit the Preserve

Please take a look at this detailed trail map before your trip to plan for a safe visit. Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is patrolled by Advance Security, to uphold the rules and regulations for the safety of all. 

During your visit

  • Open 6:30 am to sunset
  • Dogs must be leashed
  • No dogs on beach
  • Stay on paved trails except on beach
  • Access beach only from Main and West Entrances
  • No swimming or wading
  • No paddling or boating
  • No fires, camping, or drones
  • No alcohol, smoking, or firearms
  • Take trash home
  • Do not disturb flora or fauna
  • Trails are closed when snow or ice are present

Report violators to Highland Park Police: 847.432.7730

Stay out of the lake

Even on calm days, dangerous rip currents, submerged objects, and harmful bacteria can be present, and strong winds and high waves can quickly develop.

The power of healing

Throughout your visit to the Preserve, you’ll find the area to be a testament to the power of healing through land stewardship. Heavily impacted by its past as a military base, the land is now recovering thanks to Openlands’ protection and management.  Art installations, audio tours, and educational signage offer interpretations of the nature around you.

The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve balances the preserve’s ecological and cultural history, inviting visitors to enjoy panoramic views while contemplating humanity’s impact on the land and the planet. The Preserve has three trails to experience this nature, and paved trails are ADA-accessible. In order to keep the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve ecosystems intact and healthy, we require all visitors to remain on the designated trails and lakefront. 

The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is privately owned and fully supported by Openlands’ privately raised funds, occasionally supported by state or federal grants. There are no tax dollars, impact fees, community fees, or entrance fees to offset the costs of maintenance and stewardship. To keep our expenses down, we ask you to take your trash with you and leave with only pictures and memories of what you have experienced.

Thank you

We thank you for your support as we work to restore and care for these rare ecosystems into the future!

Audio Tour

Explore the Preserve through words of the people who know it best.