Middlefork Farm Nature Preserve represents the largest and most complicated land preservation project done by Lake Forest Open Lands, resulted in the preservation of 120 acres of a 200-acre parcel purchased by Lake Forest Open Lands in 1998. The property was formerly a working farm, and grazing, plowing, drainage, and buckthorn invasion had heavily impacted virtually all the land. Lake Forest Open Lands sold 60 acres of floodplain along the middle fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River to the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which added it to the 500-acre Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve to the west. Lake Forest Open Lands has begun the restoration of the remaining sixty acres, including prairie, two savannas, and two wetlands. One wetland is completely new, while the other required the removal of drain tiles, acres of brush, and large stands of non-native grasses and weeds.
Visitors will enjoy the sweeping views of the Middlefork Valley while standing among the 200-year-old bur oaks and shagbark hickories that dot the savanna. It's a great place for a relaxing walk at sunset. 

Photo Credit: Corinne Torkelson Photography

Explore Middlefork virtually



Middlefork Farm Nature Preserve has several entrance points on the south side of Middlefork Drive and the north side of Acorn Trail. Park on the south side of Middlefork Drive across from McGlinnin Court near the kiosk entrance.

George Beach Trail: Park in the Elawa Farm parking lot at 1401 Middlefork Drive. The trail entrance can be found at the west end of this lot.

South Grove: Park on Acorn Drive and meet at the trail entrance on the southeast side of the preserve.