The Forest Preserves District of Cook County has fully opened Horizon Farm preserve in Barrington Hills for public use, including the introduction of several official trails available for pedestrian, biking and equestrian use.
In 2023, the Forest Preserves will continue to gather input and present a long-term comprehensive plan for the nearly 400-acre site.
The northernmost section of Horizon Farm, approximately 40 percent of the property, has been open to visitors since November 2021. Since gaining full possession of Horizon Farm in 2019, the Forest Preserves has created new trails and addressed maintenance and safety issues for public use, including demolition of more than 20 buildings that were beyond their useful life—in some cases in deep disrepair.
A former equestrian estate, the Horizon Farm property is the largest purchase of land by the Forest Preserves since 1968. The site features meadows, wetlands and small streams, as well as open habitat for grassland birds. Horizon Farm is currently available sunrise to sunset for activities like hiking, birdwatching, photography, horseback riding and cross-country skiing.
In addition to opening the southern section of the property, the Dec. 30 opening included a new 1.2-mile loop trail and a spur connection to the Riding Club of Barrington Hills trail to the west. With the introduction of official Forest Preserves trails, equestrian use is now allowed in Horizon Farm. Some segments of the site will occasionally be closed for further trail improvements in 2023.
The buildings that currently remain on the property include a garage for Forest Preserves maintenance needs, a barn at the main parking lot and a small corn crib that was once used as an office by a previous owner.