Reopening of Hastings Lake Forest Preserve

The highly anticipated reopening of Hastings Lake Forest Preserve in Lake Villa is complete, following extensive public access improvements and restoration of natural areas within the 270-acre preserve. The preserve was established in 2003 and named for Hastings Lake YMCA, a camp which previously had occupied the property from 1923–2002. Four miles of paved and gravel trails wind through open fields and meadows, woodlands of stately trees, and wetlands. Trails are open to bicycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing, and in-line skating on paved trails. Two trail spurs provide access to the preserve from the even Hills and Mallard Ridge subdivisions. A trail connection to Grass Lake Road on the east side of the lake is also available. Other amenities include three picnic shelters, a large playground, three scenic overlooks, boardwalks, lake access for cartop boats, and two wheelchair accessible fishing piers. The preserve’s main entrance is located on Gelden Road southwest of Grass Lake Road in Lake Villa. A second entrance is located on Munn Road north of Grand Avenue (Route 132). Hastings Lake is open daily from 6:30am to sunset, unless otherwise posted.

A 2-mile paved trail loops around Hastings Lake and offers scenic overlooks, boardwalks and fishing piers along the way. Bluegill, largemouth bass, carp, and other species can be found in the 80-acre lake (state fishing regulations apply). Two family-size shelters for groups of up to 25 are available for use on a first-come, first-served basis and are not reservable. A large playground* includes a “pond” with frogs, stepping stones and lily pads, a beaver lodge, and native species such as turtles and oaks—as well as more traditional equipment.

Information provided by the Lake County Forest Preserve

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