McHenry County Conservation District  •  18410 US Highway 14 •  Woodstock, IL 60098  •  815-338-MCCD(6223)

  Cross-Country Ski

Snowshoer Dad and son cross country skiing with binoculars Girl on cross country skis

Cross-Country Ski Conditions

Ratings: Good, Fair and Poor 

Glacial Park:Poor
Rush Creek: Poor
Marengo Ridge: Poor
Pleasant Valley: Poor
Hickory Grove Highlands: Poor
Lyons Prairie and Marsh: Poor
Prairieview Education Center: Poor
The Hollows: Poor

Last updated 3/10/2014. Note: conditions may change quickly depending on the weather. For more information contact Brookdale Administrative Office at
(815) 338-6223, ext. 1200.

ross-Country Ski Trail Locations

printable map

Once there is 4 inches of snow, outdoor enthusiasts can glide over 40 miles of cross-country ski trails at 17 different sites throughout the county:

   Coral Woods, Marengo
   Exner Marsh, Lake in the Hills
   Fel-Pro RRR, Cary
   Fox Bluff, Cary
* Glacial Park, Ringwood
   Harrison Benwell, Wonder Lake
* Hickory Grove Highlands, Cary
* The Hollows, Cary
   Lake in the Hills Fen, Lake in the Hills
* Marengo Ridge, Marengo Ridge
* Pleasant Valley, Woodstock


Cross-Country Skiing by Candlelight   Prairie Trail North (Barnard Mill Rd. to Rte. 176)
  Prairie Trail South (McHenry to Kane County)
* Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake
* Rush Creek, Harvard
  Silver Creek, Cary (packed Skate Ski Trail added 2014)
  Stickney Run, McHenry


* These trails are packed and tracked when there is 4 inches of snow or more. line

Hike or Ski on Solar Lighted Trails
Nov. 2, 2014–March 8, 2015 • Trails open until 9 p.m.

With the sun going down so early, there's no time to play! Fear not, now you can get out on the trails everyday after dark. The District has two sites open late for hiking or cross country skiing when the conditions are right.
(Trail etiquette: When there is snow, hikers are asked to walk on the outside of the ski tracks.)

Pleasant Valley (*closed Nov.21-23, Dec. 4-7) 13315 Pleasant Valley Rd., Woodstock. This half-mile looped trail located on the east side of the entrance drive is fairly flat terrain, perfect for beginners or shorter outings. Park in the first parking area and sign in.

Hickory Grove Highlands  (*closed Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Nov. 14-16) 500 Hickory Nut Grove Lane, Cary. The 1 mile looped trail travels through a newly restored savanna, offering a longer scenic route suitable for intermediate skiers. Visitors should sign in at the trail head.

Skate Ski Trail at Silver Creek

When you have a snowy winter, people are looking for more ways to get out and enjoy! In response to a number of inquiries from the public, The Conservation District has added a Skate Ski Trail at Silver Creek Conservation Area, 1200 Block of Rawson Bridge Road, Cary.

A skate ski trail differs from a traditional cross country ski trail by being packed, but not tracked. The trail at Silver Creek is a 1 ½ mile, relatively flat, trail loop.

Cross-Country Candlelight Ski Winter 2014-15

Candles lit along trail for candlelight ski event

Both Friday & Saturday Evening 5:00–9:00 p.m.

December 19 & 20 Prairieview Education Center, Crystal Lake
January 30 & 31 Coral Woods Conservation Area, Marengo
February 20 & 21 Rush Creek Conservation Area, Harvard

Don’t miss your chance to cross-country ski on trails lit only by candlelight! Skiers of every experience level and age are welcome, but you must bring your own equipment. Gather around the campfire for refreshments after your time out on the trail. Trails will be groomed for skiing if there is 4” of snow or more.

Not enough snow? Leave the skis at home and enjoy a candlelight hike, some hot refreshments around a campfire and the allure of the winter woods. Note: events are canceled if trails are icy/hazardous or the wind chill drops below -20 degrees. Check the front page of the website or Facebook, @DiscoverMCCD or call (815) 338-6223, ext. 1200, for updates.

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Cross-Country Ski Rentals • Try these local businesses…

  • Outdoor Recreation – Woodstock – 815-338-6088
  • Crystal Lake Ski and Bike – Crystal Lake – 815-455-5450
  • Alpine Accessories - Lake in the Hills - 847-854-4754


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