two people riding horses at Spring Lake

Explore the woodlands and grasslands of the Forest Preserves on horseback—enjoy over 200 miles of unpaved trails, ample horse trailer parking and a full service equestrian center.

On this page:

Trail Information

Horse riders can enjoy miles of trails throughout the Forest Preserves. Horse trailer parking is available at select locations.

Licenses & Tags

All rider’s utilizing trails, driveways and paths within Forest Preserves of Cook County must possess a Rider’s License and all horses must possess the appropriate Forest Preserves Horse Tag.

The Horse Tag must be affixed to the left-hand side of the bridle or the saddle and be clearly visible. Failure to follow these rules could result in revocation of Rider’s License.

Annual Package

An Annual Package includes one Rider’s License and one Horse Tag. Additional Horse Tags may be purchased after purchasing the Annual Package.

The Annual Package may be purchased online, by mail or in person at Forest Preserves General Headquarters for $35 for Cook County residents and $50 for non-residents.

The Horse Tag and Rider’s License are mailed to the address on the application. Licenses and Tags expire on June 30 of each year.

Annual Rider’s License

This package is for customers that don’t need a Horse Tag, but still plan to ride a horse on Forest Preserves trails throughout the year.

The Annual Package may be purchased online, by mail or in person at Forest Preserves General Headquarters for $5 for both residents and non-residents.

The Rider’s License is mailed to the address on the application. Licenses and Tags expire on June 30 of each year.

Day Pass

Riders with a Day Pass are not required to purchase an annual Horse Tag or Rider’s License if they are riding for one day only. The Day Pass is valid on date of purchase and expires at the end of the following day. Passes must be carried at all times while riding on Forest Preserves trails.

The Day Pass may be purchased online or in person at Forest Preserves General Headquarters for $5 for both residents and non-residents.

Stable Rider License Books

For the convenience of our customers, the Forest Preserves sells books of rider’s licenses to stable owners. Stables, in turn, can sell these licenses to individual equestrians utilizing Forest Preserves trails. However, tags for horses personally owned by customers must be purchased directly through the Forest Preserves.

Horse Trailer Parking

Big Bend Lake
Bender Rd, south of Golf Rd
Des Plaines, IL 60016 (view web map of Big Bend Lake)

Bode East
(part of Arthur L. Janura Preserve)
E Bode Rd, west of S Barrington Rd
Hoffman Estates, IL 60107 (view web map of Bode East)

Calvin R. Sutker Grove
(part of Harms Woods)
Woods Dr, north of Golf Rd

Camp Kiwanis Equestrian Staging Area
Willow Springs Rd, south of 95th St
(near Willow Springs)

Country Lane Woods
95th St, east of Flavin Rd/Willow Springs Rd
Cook County, IL 60480 (view web map of Country Lane Woods)
(near Willow Springs)

Dam No. 1 Woods-East
Dundee Rd, east of Milwaukee Ave

Dan McMahon Woods
107th St, west of 96th Ave
Cook County, IL 60480 (view web map of Dan McMahon Woods)
(near Willow Springs)

Deer Grove
N Quentin Rd, north of W Dundee Rd
Cook County, IL 60074 (view web map of Deer Grove)
(near Palatine)

Horse trailer parking at Picnic Grove #1 only.

Forty Acre Woods
119th St, east of S La Grange Rd
Cook County, IL 60464 (view web map of Forty Acre Woods)
(near Palos Park)

Hidden Pond Woods-East
S Kean Ave, north of W 95th St
(near Willow Springs)

Hidden Pond Woods-West
96th Ave, north of W 95th St
(near Willow Springs)

Horsetail Lake
104th Ave, north of McCarthy Rd
Cook County, IL 60464 (view web map of Horsetail Lake)
(near Palos Park)

Linne Woods
W Dempster St, east of Lehigh Ave
Morton Grove, IL 60053 (view web map of Linne Woods)

Palos Park Woods-North
Kean Ave, south of Calumet Sag Rd/Rte 83
(near Palos Park)

Poplar Creek Equestrian Parking
(part of Arthur L. Janura Preserve)
Schaumburg Rd, east of W Irving Park Rd
(near Elgin)

Sag Valley Equestrian Parking
(part of McGinty Slough)
W 131st St, east of Bell Rd
(near Lemont)

Spring Lake Equestrian Parking
Bateman Rd, north of Algonquin Rd

Swallow Cliff Woods-North
Calumet Sag Rd/Rte 83, west of La Grange Rd/96th Ave
(near Palos Park)

Trail Rules & Etiquette

  • Use official, marked trails. Bicycle and horse riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails. Off-trail and unofficial trail use—even by walkers and runners—damages plant and wildlife habitats.
  • Stay to the right. Ride or walk on the right side of the trail and stay single file whenever possible.
  • Pass safely. Give an audible warning (examples: ring a bike bell or say “on your left”) and slow down before passing others. Pass in single file only. Ask permission to pass equestrians.
  • Yield to other trail users. Bicycle riders must yield to other types of trail users. Walkers and runners must yield to equestrians.
  • Keep your dog on-leash. Most trails allow dogs, but they must be on a leash, controlled by their owner and on the right side of the trail.
  • Make sure your ride is allowed. Check our web map to see where you can ride a horse or bike (including class 1 and 2 e-bikes). Not allowed anywhere: Class 3 e-bikes; electrically powered scooters, unicycles and hoverboards; and gas-powered vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles. People with mobility limitations are allowed to use personal mobility devices.
  • Travel at a safe speed. Bicycle and e-bike riders must travel at speeds under 15 miles per hour—or slower in busy areas or where a speed limit is posted.
  • Pay attention to trail signs. Signs tell you which trail users are allowed and alert you to hazards or busy areas ahead.  
  • Keep the trail clear. Do not block trails—move to the side of the trail before stopping.
  • Stay out of the mud. Avoid using wet trails—if you are leaving prints, you are damaging the trail.
  • Protect yourself. Helmets are recommended for all types of bicycle riders, especially for riders 14 and under.
  • Be polite and courteous. Our multi-use trails are for everyone.
  • Remember that trail use involves risk. Please review our Trail Risk Statement.

Nature Center Trails

  • Nature center trails are for walking only. Bicycles, pets, horses and cross-country skiing are not allowed.
  • Nature center trails are open only during posted nature center hours.


  • Walk your horse between the stable and trail.
  • Keep your horse under control—the only permitted gaits are walk, trot or slow canter. Galloping and racing are not permitted.
  • Slow to a walk or slow trot when meeting other trail users.
  • Do not hitch horses to trees or other vegetation.
  • Do not use paved trails.
  • Be humane and kind to your horse.
  • Stallions are not permitted on trails.