McDonald Woods Forest Preserve Trail
ElevationAscent: 24' 7 m
Descent: -14' -4 m
High: 766' 233 m
Low: 742' 226 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 5% (3°)
Popular runs nearby
Lake Defiance Trail
3.9 mi 6.3 km • Loop • 93 ft Ascent 28.33 m Ascent
Cuba Marsh Tour
5.5 mi 8.9 km • Loop • 81 ft Ascent 24.66 m Ascent
Deer Grove Forest Loop
9.6 mi 15.5 km • Loop • 274 ft Ascent 83.53 m Ascent
Hollows Conservation Area
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Loop • 133 ft Ascent 40.43 m Ascent
The Chicago Outerbelt Route
208.3 mi 335.3 km • Loop • 1,652 ft Ascent 503.43 m Ascent
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“Segment of a 4.1-mile trail system.”— Lake County Forest Preserves
McDonald Woods is a perfect place to hike, bike and cross-country ski. Trails here connect to the Millennium Trail and other community hiking and biking paths. A 3.8 mile gravel loop trail winds around the woods and wetlands. A 0.3-mile woodchip trail is open for hiking and cross-country skiing and leads to a basswood and sugar maple forest, glowing yellow in autumn.
Please keep dogs leashed and on trails at all times, and pick up after them.
Acquired in the 1970s, the preserve was named after its owner A. B. McDonald. He created a private nature preserve on roughly 295 acres in the 1940s, building three lakes and planting a pine grove and other trees. These habitats, along with the grasslands, provide homes for wildflowers and food, cover for birds and mammals, and respite for humans.
The grasslands, once fallow fields, have been restored. Now in summer and fall, the grasslands teem with native prairie plants including gray-headed coneflowers and the lavender-hued wild bergamot, called bee balm because it attracts hungry bees. The Forest Preserve also restored the three lakes into a series of wetlands, which provide food and resting spots for myriad ducks in fall and spring.
In spring and summer, listen for the rollicking sounds of bobolinks and the spring-of-the-year song of the eastern meadowlark as these grassland birds prepare for another breeding season.
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Land Manager: Lake County Forest Preserve