Lake Independence Grove
Set in the broad valley of the Des Plaines River, Independence Grove offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered on a 115-acre lake reclaimed from a gravel quarry. Miles of trails, an expansive lake, graceful prairies and quiet woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for many fun activities.
A sensory-rich play environment with state-of-the-art handicap-adaptable play equipment and wide paved pathways make access comfortable and enjoyable for all visitors. Located adjacent to the Visitors Center.
North Bay Pavilion
Situated on the scenic North Bay, this striking pavilion and adjacent open area are perfect for a corporate picnic, outdoor wedding, family reunion or other lakeside events. The pavilion accommodates up to 500 people and offers a stone fireplace, picnic tables, drinking water, electricity, parking, restrooms, trail access, fishing pier, play field and sand volleyball court.
During the summer season, visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, bicycles, pedal boats and fishing boats at the marina. Outside watercraft are not permitted on the lake.
State fishing licenses are required and are available at the Marina building (open seasonally). You may also buy nightcrawlers and a limited stock of tackle at this facility. Fishing is open seasonally, during Preserve hours from 6:30 a.m. to sunset every day. Fishing is not permitted in the Preserve's south bay.
We've transformed a sterile quarry with step sides into a rich aquatic ecosystem with gently graded slopes and underwater islands. Musky, northern pike, black crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill and yellow perch are found here. Game fish are periodically stocked. A mandatory catch-and-release fishing program makes it recreational for anglers and beneficial for nature. Anglers are encouraged to use barbless, non-stainless steel hooks.
Dig your toes into 400 feet of sand beach along the lake's South Bay. An adjacent beach house offers washrooms, showers and lockers. Lifeguards are on duty during posted hours. For everyone's safety, including our resident wildlife, inflatable items are not permitted.
More than six miles of trails wind through the Preserve. The Lakeside Trail (2.3 mi.) offers a crushed granite surface ideal for hiking and jogging. The Overlook Trail (2.5 mi.) runs through scenic areas of the Preserve. Its paved surface is designed for in-line skating, biking and other general uses. Two shorter trails connect with the Lakeside and Overlook Trails. The South Bay Loop (0.70 mi.) is paved, while the North Bay Loop (0.75 mi.) has combined asphalt and gravel sections. A short section of the Des Plaines River Trail connects to Preserve trails.
Bring your own canoe and launch it on the Des Plaines River. The launch, located near the North Bay Pavilion, offers shoreline fishing, a trail connection to the Des Plaines River Trail and parking. If you put your canoe in here, the next canoe launch is at Oak Spring Road, 2.7 miles downstream.
Hours and Admission
Independence Grove Forest Preserve
Open daily from 6:30 am - sunset. No fee for admission. Parking is free for Lake County residents, $5 per car for non-residents Monday through Thursday, $10 Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
Open daily from 9 am - 4:30 pm, unless otherwise posted.
The Cafe will be open for business Memorial Day weekend. We serve up snacks, light entrees, beverages and ice cream all summer long from our convenient walk-up window on the north side of the Visitors Center. Cafe hours: 10:30 am - 4 pm weekdays, 10:30 am - 6 pm weekends and holidays, weather permitting.
Rent a canoe, kayak, pedalboat, fishing boat, comfort bike or surrey bicycle. The concession also offers bait, tackle, and fishing licenses. Marina opens for weekend business on April 12, and daily beginning May 24. Marina hours: 6:30 am to one hour before sunset.
The swimming beach at Independence Grove opens weekends and holidays only beginning Saturday, May 24, and daily as of June 9. Beach hours: 10 am - 6 pm
Independence Grove Forest Preserve is located in central Lake County near Libertyville.
The entrance and parking area are located on Buckley Road (Route 137) just east of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and west of River Road.