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Hike to Gander Mountain Forest Preserve

Gander Mountain with an elevation of 957 feet above sea level, is Lake County`s highest elevation and as part of the Lake County Forest Preserve District is open to the public for hiking and nature watching. Gander Mountain Company headquartered in St. Paul, is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing retail network in the domain of outdoor stores for shooting, fishing, camping, hunting, and outdoor lifestyle products and services. AT&T Communications constructed a television relay tower on Gander Mountain in late 1948. AT&T’s relay towers provided a one-way television route from Chicago to Milwaukee, and U.S. long distance telephone service. It is one of 33 sites incorporating almost 18,500 acres owned by the forest preserve district for preservation, restoration, education and recreational purposes.  


Picnicking: Take along a picnic basket and sit awhile apart from your everyday world, letting the sights and sounds of this unspoiled landscape wash over you.

Trail: There are seven miles of trails through the Gander Mountain preserve, and the palette of colors changes from season to season, ranging from the bright new greens of spring to the brilliant hues of autumn. The site's 125-foot hill is the result of deposits left from the retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age. A challenging hike to the top along informal foot paths is paid off with a scenic view of the Fox River in the valley below. 

Wildlife: Hundreds of hawks of different species, including red-tailed, rough-legged and broad-winged, as well as falcons, are often seen flying over at one time during spring and fall migrations quoted by, public information manager. 

Scenery: These grasslands with their scattered trees are common to this part of Illinois. Amid the oaks you might see a fragrant American wild plum tree, just one of the many surprises nature has bestowed on this 290-acre preserve.

At the top you’ll find yourself in a meadow with a panoramic view of Lake County spread out below. On a clear day you can see as far as Waukegan, some 23 miles to the east. But on any day, in the valley to the east, you’ll see the Fox River, down which the French trader, Jean Nicolet, is said to have paddled into Lake County as early as 1634.


Hike Hike
Kayaking Kayaking
Photography Photography
Standup Paddling Standup Paddling


Child Friendly Child Friendly
Dog friendly Dog friendly
Picnic Area Picnic Area
Parking Parking

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