The trails run through open areas within the preserve, crossing several creeks, skirting the reservoir and traversing restored prairie. Pedestrian and bicycle access is available at the corner of Checker Road and Arlington Heights Road, on Checker Road west of Schaeffer Road, and at the corner of Lake Cook and Arlington Heights Roads.
The preserve is primarily intended for flood control on Buffalo Creek, but careful stewardship by MWRD, Lake County Forest Preserve District, and the Village of Buffalo Grove has resulted in thriving prairies and wetlands.
The Des Plaines River Trail in Lake County extends 31 miles from just south of the Illinois-Wisconsin border to Lake Cook Road, where it connects to the Cook County Forest Preserve section. The trail is part of the Des Plaines River Greenway, a chain of 10 forest preserves along the river. The Greenway protects land along 85 percent of the river in Lake County, providing wildlife habitat, natural flood protection, and outdoor recreation opportunities.
The trail is accessible from Buffalo Grove east of Milwaukee Avenue at Route 22 / Half Day Road in Lincolnshire and at Estonian Lane (north of Busch Parkway) and east of the Riverwalk development (at North Riverwalk Drive near the 301 Riverwalk Place building). The trail in Lake County has bridges and underpasses to facilitate travel at road crossings.