Ferncliff Forest is an interesting spot because it’s not actual public land – even though the public is welcome to visit for free. The historic Game Refuge and Forest Preserve offers over 200 acres to explore and is managed by a non-profit. To book, you email the ranger in advance and make a donation via Paypal. We were visiting on a Sunday so we had every site to choose from, opting for one with a lean-to next to the lake.
Risk takers or mid-week explorers could hypothetically skip bringing a tent and save a pounds by sleeping in the lean-to but take note that these sites are first come, first serve.
There are a variety of trails at Ferncliff including hiking trails and singletrack mountain bike trails. We were riding road bikes so we decided to go for a hike and leave our bikes at camp. A short walk led us to the Ferncliff Fire tower, which, unlike the majority of fire towers in this region was built specifically for recreational usage in 2007. The views certainly did not disappoint