Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Trail at Grassy Lake Forest Preserve

The Lake County Forest Preserve District has opened the new trail at Grassy Lake Preserve. For years, we've been parking at the Lake Barrington Village Hall and hiking either south on the Grassy Lake Trail (4 miles round trip) or north on the Flint Creek Trail (3 miles round trip.) Both are very nice hikes, and now a third option is available. Just a quarter mile west of the village hall parking lot (west of the Flint Creek Bridge) is a new parking area with washroom facility.

These maps are posted at all entrances to the trail (click to enlarge.) The Red Trail is the newly opened trail.

You can hike south (crossing moderately busy Kelsey Road with the help of a push button warning light) and hike behind a few residences and then up this slight hill...

...and on the other side reach two boardwalks, this one crossing a wetlands and the second taking you over Flint Creek. You'll then intersect the original trail (now called the Yellow Trail) -- going to the right takes you to Grassy Lake and to the left, along Flint Creek, you'll end at the Fox River.

Or you can head north from the new parking lot, following the new gravel trail...

...which ultimately gets you to the top of a high hill (by Midwest standards) with several overlooks...

...offering views of the Fox River and the homes on the other side of the river...

...or looking down at the trail you just traversed. Apparently the prior owner of this marvelous property had intended to sell off lots for pricey subdivision homes on this land until the economic downturn and housing market collapse a few years back, allowing the forest preserve district to enter negotiations and eventually purchase the property.

The information available says there is a contract out for winter wildlife habitat restoration work that will remove invasive species along the river bank and trim back trees so river views are more pronounced. Additional plantings will also be added as time continues, turning old farm fields into lovely forest and prairies.

There are also two grass trails you can hike, one taking you to a subdivision and the other to the Fox River's edge as seen below. After this winter's work, more river views like this one will be available to hikers.

Thanks agin to the Forest Preserve District for providing yet another very nice trail for us, and especially for preserving so many wonderful parcels of land across the county that will be enjoyed for generations to come!

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