This article was originally written for Little Lake County by Cindy Smith
Let’s get real. Snow, whether it’s the first flakes or the 12th storm of the season, is beyond magical for most kids. But for most of us adults, the magic quickly dissipates when we have to drive in it, shovel it, and bundle our kids up (over and over) to play in it. But I know just the way to get that childhood magic back into your life at least once this winter… hop on a sled and hit the hills, with or without your kids in tow. And luckily there is no shortage of sledding hills in Lake County.
Check out this extensive list the kids at heart at Little Lake County have compiled over the years of where to go sledding in Lake County.
Be sure to call the Park District or operating facility to make sure they are open to the public. Many operate on a Red Flag (NO sledding), Green Flag (GO Sledding!) system so be sure to check the hill’s status before putting on all of the kids’ snow pants and boots.
Sled Hills in Lake County
1500 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
You’ll find a large, fully lit, sledding hill with nearby outdoor ice skating rink and a warming house. They also have a concession stand and a restroom. Located off of Milwaukee Ave., there is also a lodge that is open when there are at least three inches of snow. Lodge hours for the 2017-2018 season have not been posted, however, in the past hours were Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Saturday from (as well as School District 70 & 128 school holidays) 11:00 a.m. – 8: 00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. For an update on sledding and ice conditions, please call the hotline at (847) 247-5433, option 3.
355 W. Washington St., Lake Bluff
This sled hill is open for use as soon as it snows! The hill is well-lit and is open until 9:00 p.m. The hill is unsupervised, so sled at your own risk.
37908 N. Fairfield Rd, Lake Villa
In addition to a nice, lit sledding hill, this park boasts one of the few toboggan chutes in the area. The park is lit from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., weather, and conditions permitting. This area is maintained by the Lake Villa Township, call (847) 356-2116 for status updates.
1401 Indianwood Drive, Vernon Hills
The park has both outdoor skating and a large sled hill. It is a pretty wide sledding hill, so multiple kids can race at the same time going down. The pavilion is only open when the sled hill and/or ice rink is open and is only staffed on the weekend. Both the sled hill and ice rink are lit until 9:00 p.m. Check posted signs or call the weather hotline at (847) 996-6616.
Christine Thompson Park
Woodlawn Ave and Belle Plaine Ave, Gurnee
Gurnee has a small sled hill at the recently remodeled Christine Thompson Park. This park offers an unsupervised and unlit sledding hill.
5 Park View Ln., Hawthorn Woods
This park has an unsupervised sled hill that is open for use, weather permitting.
650 E. State Rd., Island Lake
The sled hill will be open and lit daily (weather permitting) until 10:00 p.m. The park is NOT supervised, and is to be used “at your own risk.” There is also an ice skating rink on site. Please call the Island Lake Recreation Department for more information at (847) 526-4851.
Danny Cunniff Park
3100 Trail Way, Highland Park
The sled hill is free and open to the public. It is located toward the back of the park, so it may be a bit of a walk for younger sledders. Please be aware that there is no supervision or warming facility at the sled hill. The sled hill has no set hours. Throughout the season, the sled hill may be closed from time to time. Sign up for the rainout line and get up-to-date information on the sled hill and outdoor ice rink status.
Keith Mione Park
1401 N. Midlothian Rd., Mundelein
]The sled hill is open from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily when there are at least three inches of snow on the ground. When the sled hill is open, lights will come on automatically at dusk. Contact the Mundelein Park District at (847) 566-0650 or call the winter hotline at (847) 388-5464 for conditions and information. There is also a skating rink on site.
814 W. Hart Rd., Round Lake
This hill is medium-sized, well-groomed and lit, and open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. There are steps and a railing leading up to it to the big hill making it a favorite for kids. There is also another smaller hill, perfect for younger kids, and an ice skating rink that is maintained by park district at the bottom of the hill. Hart’s Hill is unsupervised and parents must stay with their children. Be sure to “like” the Round Lake Park District Facebook page, where you will find posts nearly daily about the sledding hill and skating rink.
Lakewood Forest Preserve
27277 Forest Preserve Road, Wauconda
The Lakewood Forest Preserve hill is lit and open until 9:00 p.m. daily when there is enough snow. Call their 24-hour recorded hotline at (847) 968-3235 anytime for status updates.
McHenry Township Sledding Hill
3703 North Richmond Road, Johnsburg
The McHenry Township Sledding Hill is unsupervised and lit until 10:00 p.m. There is ample parking, an enclosed winter shelter with a fireplace for warming, picnic tables, and a bathroom facility. Firewood is provided by the Township. Please note there must be at least six inches of snow and no visible grass for sled hill to be open.
Old School Forest Preserve
28285 St. Mary’s Road, Mettawa
This small but scenic hill is open from 6:30 a.m. until sunset (it is not lit at all) and has an adjacent skating rink. Before heading out, call the 24-hour winter sports hotline at (847) 968-3235. A recorded message conveys current trail and ice conditions for sledding and ice skating.
200 S. Rand Rd., Lake Zurich
Sledding is available daily at this unsupervised hill until dusk when there is adequate snow cover. There are no lights available at night. Call (847) 438-5146, ext. 9 for updated skating and sledding conditions.
Warren Township Park
17801 West Washington St., Gurnee
Warren Township has two designated sled hills; a large sled hill and a bunny sled hill. Sledding is allowed when there is an adequate snow base during normal park hours, daily 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The hills are not supervised and snowboards and toboggans are not permitted. Sled hill conditions are posted to the rain hotline (847) 999-0405.
651 Old Checker Rd., Buffalo Grove
The Willow Stream Park winter sports area will be open until March 1, depending on conditions. The hill is located at the north end of the park. Parking is at the north entrance (Farrington Drive) near the pool. This is an unsupervised sled hill that is only lit at the top until 10:30 p.m.
If you’re up for more adventure and a lot more snow you can head up to Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, they have a tubing hill as well as Skiing for Families. You can also check out our list of where to ice skate in Lake County.
As always, be sure to read any posted warnings and instructions at the hill for your safety, and be wary of sledding conditions and obstructions. It is always a good idea to call the weather hotline before the kids get into all of their snow gear, too.
Where is your favorite sledding location?