The Town of Fort Sheridan is a 230-acre residential community nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan. Originally an army base developed in the 1800s, the Fort is now endowed with beautiful historic buildings and hundreds of mature oak trees, many over 100 years old. The Fort has several picturesque ravines leading to the lake. The centerpiece of the Fort is the 54-acre former parade ground overlooked by the historic water tower. The park-like setting offers a natural and serene landscape for residents and visitors alike.
The Town of Fort Sheridan is blessed with 0.75 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, in its natural state and untouched by development. Owned and managed by the Lake County Forest Preserve District (“LCFPD”), the beach is accessible to the public via a paved path from a public parking area in the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. The recent installation of the path and parking marks the first official public access to this section of the Lake Michigan shoreline in over 100 years. When you come visit, meander down to the beach and listen to the waves rolling and the breeze rustling the trees. You’ll feel a million miles away from busy city life.
The Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve provides gorgeous trails for walking, biking and cross-country skiing. The trails, which wind through mature trees and rolling terrain, provide spectacular views as well as outdoor displays and educational exhibits. The Forest Preserve also has a parking area accessible to the public.
One of the trails winds through the historic parade ground; another hugs the top of the scenic Hutchinson Ravine. The 1.01 mile Lake Michigan Trail runs from Old Elm Road at Sheridan Road through the Preserve all the way to the beach. On the way, you can stop at the Fortified Firing Position exhibit. This walk-in exhibit replicates an army training gun emplacement (circa 1920-1943) and includes a cannon similar to those once used in anti-aircraft training at the Fort along the lakeshore. After viewing the cannon exhibit, stop at the two binocular viewers installed along the bluff to observe migrating birds, other wildlife and passing boats.
Closer to Sheridan Road, you can cross an expansive trail bridge over the ravine and view the oversized replica of a red-tailed hawk’s nest. This “nest” is large enough for an entire classroom of 20 students. Visitors can walk into the nest for a hawk's eye view of the Preserve through a specially-designed viewing station.
The Parade Grounds
The Fort Sheridan Parade Grounds are truly historic. The area encompasses 54 acres of beautifully maintained grounds, and around which are positioned many of the meticulously restored historic buildings, including the landmark water tower, the barracks buildings, the officers’ family quarters, the bachelor officers’ quarters and the theater and stockade structures. By agreement with the US Government to develop the decommissioned army fort by private developers, no building structures can ever be constructed on these very special grounds.