Skokie Lagoons

A lagoon with a boat at Skokie Lagoons. Photo by chmoss.
"Skokie Lagoons" by chmoss is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Cropped from original.

The 894-acre Skokie Lagoons are a prime destination for water exploration, featuring public boat access, canoe and kayak rentals, biking and hiking trails and picnic areas.

On this page:


Locations & Things to Do

Skokie Lagoons includes multiple locations:


Erickson Woods

Entrance

Willow Rd, east of I-94/Edens Expy
Cook County, IL 60093
(near Winnetka)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Tower Road

Entrance

Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
Cook County, IL 60093
(near Winnetka)

Phone

847-414-5883

Things to Do & Amenities

  1. Portable bathroom open May 1 to October 31 depending on weather conditions.

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Tower Road Boat Launch

Entrance

Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
Cook County, IL 60093
(near Winnetka)

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Forest Way Grove

Entrance

Forest Way Dr, south of Dundee Rd
Cook County, IL 60022
(near Glencoe)

Picnic Groves

1

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts


Trails

North Branch Trail System

The North Branch Trail System offers paved and unpaved trails along approximately 20 miles of the North Branch of the Chicago River, making it a premier biking route in the northern suburbs.

Location: Chicago, Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie & Winnetka

Surface

Paved & Unpaved

Estimated Total Length

36.7 miles

Hours

Year-round: Sunrise to Sunset

Closures & Alerts

*Please be a courteous trail user: Follow posted signs and our trail rules and etiquette.

Boat Launch

Skokie Lagoons features a trailered boat launch for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors.


Tower Road Boat Launch
(part of Skokie Lagoons)
Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
(near Winnetka)

canoes and kayaks at the shore of Skokie Lagoons

Canoe & Kayak Rentals at Tower Road

Canoe and kayak rentals are available through Chicago River Canoe & Kayak.


Tower Road
(part of Skokie Lagoons)
Tower Rd, west of Forestway Dr
Cook County, IL 60093 (view web map of Tower Road)
(near Winnetka)
847-414-5883

Skokie Lagoons Boathouse Project

The Forest Preserves is planning a new boathouse facility at the Skokie Lagoons to replace the existing temporary facility—a repurposed shipping container with no power or water. View plans, progress and sign up for updates.


Fishing at Skokie Lagoons

Skokie Lagoons is a system of seven lagoons connected by channels on the Skokie River. The total acreage for the entire lagoon system is 242 acres.  The maximum depth of 14.9 feet is located in Lagoon #2; however, pockets of 10 feet or more can be found in most of the other lagoons. Features a trailered boat launch for canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats and boats with electric trolling motors. Canoe and kayak rental available.


plants around a lagoon at Skokie Lagoons

Nature Notes

Known to American Indians as the “great marsh,” the area that is now the Skokie Lagoons was well known as wildlife habitat. But much of the area was drained by settlers for agriculture and in the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) dug out the current lagoon system, in part to address flooding and increase recreational use. The massive effort was the largest CCC project in the nation.

At today’s Skokie Lagoons, volunteers are working to remove invasive plants such as buckthorn, garlic mustard and Canada thistle from remnant areas. As restoration continues, more distinct and healthy woodland, savanna and prairie habitats will emerge.

The Skokie Lagoons provide critical habitat for migrating ducks, herons, cormorants, and a great variety of fishes including bluegill, sunfish and largemouth bass. Coyote, mink, gray and red fox have been spotted in the preserve.


volunteers at Skokie Lagoons

Volunteer Opportunities

Join stewardship volunteers from BackYard Nature Center in restoring habitat at Skokie Lagoons.