Prairie Trail South – This paved section which runs from the county line in Algonquin to the Village of McHenry for a 17 mile stretch. This trail provides recreational opportunities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and rollerbladers. Trail users should note that while most of the trail is relatively flat, the section between Lorraine Avenue and Hillside Road in Crystal Lake (through Sterne’s Woods) is quite hilly. Site users can intersect the trail at numerous points as well as park and ride from Meyer Road parking lot in Algonquin, along Main Street or at the Hillside Road lot in Crystal Lake, and at Whispering Oak Park or Peterson Park in McHenry.
The entire 26.6 mile Prairie Trail travels from Algonquin to the Wisconsin State Line. The former Chicago and Northwestern railroad line, now takes cyclists and hikers through prairie, woodlands and alongside residential areas. The trail connects eight McHenry County communities, allowing for a safe and convenient means of travel. Along the way, the trail passes through many scenic areas including Glacial Park, Larsen Prairie, Sterne’s Woods, the Diverse City Prairie and over the Fox River. Because of its length, the Prairie Trail comes in close proximity to numerous shops and businesses making it easy for cyclists to bike to work, to run errands, or to just go out to lunch or for an ice cream treat. In addition, the Prairie Trail provides access to nearly 100 miles of trails ¾ linking to the District’s Hebron Trail on the north end for a 5.5 mile stretch westward through North Branch Conservation Area, while to the south, the Prairie Trail connects to Kane County’s Fox River Trail and then onto DuPage County’s Prairie Path. Whether it’s a morning trek, a family weekend ride or a part of your weekly fitness regime, hike, pedal or roll along McHenry County Conservation District’s Prairie Trail and enjoy the outdoors.
The trail follows the former Chicago and northwestern rail line that ran from Kane County into Wisconsin. By building the Prairie Trail along portions of the corridor that were abandoned by the railroad and complementing the existing active rail with adjacent trails, the District has recycled an old mode of transportation into one for the future.
17 Mile Trail
Prairie Trail South
Algonquin – Village of McHenry
Sunrise to Sunset