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Sites open daily sunrise to sunset. Some sites are subject to Seasonal Closures or closures due to special circumstances.



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Type hike, horseback ride, fish, paddle, picnic, disc golf, cross-country ski, snowmobile, sled, or accessible into the search bar below to find sites offering those activities and features.
  • Sled

  • Hike

  • Accessible

  • Picnic

  • Snowmobile

  • Camp

  • Disc Golf

  • Fish

  • Paddle

  • Horseback Ride

  • Cross-Country Ski

  • Bike

B

Beck's Woods Conservation Area

283 acres | 0.5 mile  trail Trail Map
5940 North Pagles Rd, Woodstock

Piscasaw Creek runs through this quiet and peaceful site, making it a perfect location for fishing and group camping opportunities.

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    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • camp

    Camp

  • fish

    Fish

Boger Bog Conservation Area

38 acres | 1 mile of trail | Trail Map
2100 Cherry Valley Rd, Bull Valley

This intimate site features a one mile looped nature trail with boardwalk, council fire ring, and a small picnic shelter. Within its boundaries, there exists six different natural communities, including a rare mesic silt loam prairie, oak woodland and sedge meadow.

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    Hike

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    Picnic

Boone Creek Conservation Area

608 acres | 1.98 miles of trail | Trail Map 
916 N Cold Springs Rd, Bull Valley

This picturesque site offers a 2 mile hiking trail, wildlife watching through viewing scopes, and picnicking on the observation deck. A 1.3 mile horse trail link runs through the site for local riders. 

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    Hike

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    Horseback Ride

Brookdale Conservation Area

1,645 acres | 5.7 miles of trail | Trail Map
Main Entrance: 18410 US Highway 14, Woodstock
Paulson Road Entrance: 2105 Paulson Rd, Woodstock

Visitors to Brookdale can enjoy a 1 mile trail that transverses one side of the 11 acre pond and loops through a former pine tree plantation. In addition, a picnic shelter, restrooms, handicap accessible fishing platform, horse trailer lot and 4 mile multi-use trail can be accessed via the Paulsen Road Entrance on the east side of the pond.

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    Hike

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    Cross-Country Ski

  • handicap accessible

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C

Coral Woods Conservation Area

775 acres | 2.8 miles of trail | Trail Map
7400 Somerset, Marengo

Coral Woods represents one of the last oak groves in McHenry County that contains 100 acres or more of continuous oak woodland. This conservation area also boasts the county’s largest sugar maple grove where trees have stood for 80-100 years, as well as beautiful spring wildflowers, stunning fall colors and home to the annual Festival of the Sugar Maples each March.

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    Hike

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    Picnic

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

County Line Road Access Conservation Area

10 acres | 0.3 miles of trail | Trail Map
4700 County Line Road, Marengo

A short .3 mile trail provides anglers access to the Kishwaukee River where they can fish for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and various species of panfish. Paddlers looking to venture south on the Kishwaukee river also utilize the parking lot, situated across the street from the canoe/kayak launch.

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    Fish

D

Dufield Pond Conservation Area

78 acres | 0.75 miles of trail | Trail Map
North: 11750 Country Club Rd, Woodstock
South: 11418 McConnell Road, Woodstock

From the north entrance, anglers can cast a line in the 7 acre lake and try for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie channel catfish and yellow perch. The south entrance offers visitors a beautiful .75 mile  interpretive trail beneath towering oak woodlands.

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    Hike

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    Fish

E

Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve

345 acres | 1.7 miles of trail | Trail Map
11059 Lakeview Road, Richmond

Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Varga Archeological Site is a large, diverse wetland community. The Illinois Natural Areas Inventory (INAI) identified Lake Elizabeth as the highest quality lake ecosystem remaining in McHenry County and one of the highest in Illinois.

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    Features

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Exner Marsh Conservation Area

220 acres | 1.3 miles of trail | Trail Map
Lakewood Entrance: 9000 Lakewood Road, Lake in the Hills
Miller Road Entrance: 9105 Miller Road, Lake in the Hills

Home to a variety of bird species, the site consists of emergent shallow water marsh punctuated by shallow ponds throughout. Visitors hike the 1.3 mile trail that offers scenic views of this rich wetland community.

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    Hike

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    Picnic

F

Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area

277 acres | 2.5 miles of trail | Trail Map
Main Entrance: 1520 Crystal Lake Road, Cary
West Entrance: 1900 Crystal Lake Road, Cary

Fel-Pro RRR is an example of protecting natural areas habitat while providing diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. Unlike any other site the Conservation District owns, Fel-Pro RRR offers visitors activities such as a sand volleyball court, basketball court, and a disc golf course, along with opportunities for hiking, fishing, and picnicking. 

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    Features

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    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

  • disc golf

    Disc Golf

  • handicap accessible

    Accessible

Fox Bluff Conservation Area

279 acres | 2.5 miles of trail | Trail Map
Cary-Algonquin & Cold Springs Road, Cary

The Fox Bluff complex includes woodlands, wetlands, fens, and wet prairies, with hiking and access to the Fox River. It features steep terrain with varying slopes and ravines. 

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    Fish

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    Cross-Country Ski

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  • handicap accessible

    Accessible

G

Glacial Park Conservation Area

3,439 acres | 5 miles of trail | 4.78 miles of horse trail | Trail Map
6705 Route 31, Ringwood (Route 31 and Harts Road)

Characterized by its rolling prairie, delta kames, oak savanna and the Nippersink Creek, Glacial Park contains 490+ acres of dedicated nature preserve, and harbors 40 state endangered and threatened species. It is home to the Lost Valley Visitor Center, the Historic Powers-Walker House, and lies within the boundaries of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

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    Hike

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    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • horseback riding

    Horseback Ride

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

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    Bike

  • snowmobile

    Snowmobile

  • sled

    Sled

  • paddle

    Paddle

H

H.U.M Trail

3.2 mile trail | Trail Map
111 North Prospect Street, Marengo (Trailhead/Parking)

The Huntley-Union-Marengo trail currently runs from East Street in Marengo to Vine Street in Union. This 3.2 mile paved, multi-use trail provides a recreational amenity for local bikers, strollers, runners and dog walkers alike. Traveling alongside railroad tracks and past wooded areas, the trail provides an opportunity for a family bike ride or daily exercise route, linking the neighborhoods of Marengo and downtown Union.

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    Bike

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    Accessible

Harrison Benwell Conservation Area

75 acres | 1.6 miles of trail | Trail Map
7055 McCullom Lake Road, Wonder Lake

Hikers enjoy the canopy of the oak and hickory savanna and small meandering stream. During the winter the trails are open for cross-country skiing. Visitors also take advantage of the picnicking opportunities.

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    Cross-Country Ski

Hickory Grove and Lyons Prairie & Marsh

401 + 411 acres | 4 miles of trails | Trail Map
Hickory Grove Highlands & Riverfront: 500 Hickory Nut Grove Road, Cary
Lyons Prairie and Marsh: 7000 S Hickory Nut Grove Road, Cary

This site is so large that it is actually broken down into three smaller sites (Hickory Grove Highlands, Hickory Grove Riverfront and Lyons Prairie & Marsh). It offers an unusual diversity of habitats and is home to an Illinois State Nature Preserve. 


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    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • horseback riding

    Horseback Ride

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

  • camp

    Camp

High Point Conservation Area

253 acres | 1 mile of trail | Trail Map
10250 Reese Road, Harvard

High Point Conservation Area boasts the highest glaciated point in Illinois at 1,189’ above sea level.  It offers a mixture of oak and hickory savanna and ephemeral wetlands creating attractive habitat for many bird species. This quiet site provides visitors an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities. 

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    Features

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    Hike

K

Keystone Landing

Nippersink Canoe Trail Map
6500 Keystone Road, Richmond

This is a popular spot to launch a canoe or kayak for a trip down the Nippersink. Keystone Landing also offers a less-traveled hiking trail that can be used to access various fishing spots along the Nippersink or just for a peaceful hike.  

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    Paddle

Kishwaukee Headwaters Conservation Area

153 acres | 1.75 miles of trail | Trail Map
US Highway 14 & Dean St, Woodstock

This wetland, sedge meadow and savanna complex offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore where the Kishwaukee River begins its journey. It features a mowed path and boardwalk, as well as a picnic shelter.

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L

Lake in the Hills Fen Conservation Area

408 acres | 1.3 miles of trail | Trail Map
1500 Jefferson Street, Lake in the Hills

A unique blend of dry gravel prairie, sedge meadow, wetlands, Crystal Creek, and a rare hanging graminoid fen make up this diverse habitat. A 1.3 mile mowed hiking trail, picnic shelter, and scenic vistas are appreciated by all who visit. Twenty-seven acres are dedicated as an Illinois State Nature Preserve.

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    Cross-Country Ski

Lost Valley Visitor Center

Located in Glacial Park | Trail Map
Phone: (815) 678-4532

Begin your day's adventure in Glacial Park at the Lost Valley Visitor Center. The facility hosts a myriad of environmental education programs, camps and special events, as well as an exhibit room, drop-in library with puzzles and games, back patio for picnicking, and a research library. Self-guided explorations, binoculars, backpacks to check out and snow shoe rentals are also available.

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  • handicap accessible

    Accessible

Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park

Nippersink Canoe Trail Map
2816 Blivin St., Spring Grove
Owned by the Village of Spring Grove and Maintained by McHenry County Conservation District

Located along the Nippersink Creek in Spring Grove, this site is excellent as a pull-out location for a paddle down the Nippersink.  It is also only a short 2 hour paddle to the Nippersink Canoe base, making it a great starting point for a shorter paddle.

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    Fish

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    Paddle

M

Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

818 acres | 5 miles of trail | Trail Map
2411 N. Route 23, Marengo

Marengo Ridge Conservation Area is one of McHenry County’s most popular and treasured areas. It contains over 818 acres of oak and hickory woodlands interspersed with spruce, aspen, ash and sumac groves. The site is host to picnic shelters that provide stunning views, as well as Thomas Woods Campground. 

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    Fish

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    Camp

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

N

Nippersink Canoe Base Conservation Area

377 acres | 0.35 miles of trail | Trail Map
400 E US Highway 12, Spring Grove

This site is home to a variety of natural communities including savanna and woodland, marsh, fen and sedge meadow. The creek and its wetlands support a thriving diversity of fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. This is a common endpoint for a day of paddling that begins at either Keystone Road Landing, Pioneer Landing, or Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park.


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North Branch Conservation Area

521 acres | 1.5 miles of trail | Trail Map
11500 North Keystone Road, Richmond

Tucked away in the in the extreme northeastern part of McHenry County lies 521 acres of preserved open space known as North Branch Conservation Area. Due to its biologically rich ecosystems, the site is teeming with wildlife. North Branch features picnic areas as well as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and snowmobile trails for visitors to enjoy.
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    Horseback Ride

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    Camp

P

Pioneer Landing

Nippersink Canoe Trail Map
7049 Pioneer Road, Richmond

This is a popular spot to put in/take out a canoe or kayak along Nippersink Creek. Pioneer Landing is the second stop on the longer Nippersink Canoe Trail. If you begin at Keystone Landing, it is a 6.7 mile paddle to Pioneer Landing. From Pioneer Landing it is another 4.42 miles downstream to the next stop at Lyle C. Thomas Memorial Park.
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    Features

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    Paddle

Pleasant Valley Conservation Area

2,080 acres | 5 miles of trail | Trail Map
13315 Pleasant Valley Road, Woodstock 

Pleasant Valley expands 2,080 acres and is a mosaic of natural areas including a high-quality oak savanna, grade ‘A’ stream, never before plowed wetland and an impressive prairie ecosystem. This combination of habitats creates one of the most biologically diverse, and stunningly beautiful sites in the county. Pleasant Valley is a favorite of hikers and cross-country skiers, featuring five miles of looped trails. 

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    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

  • fish

    Fish

  • horseback riding

    Horseback Ride

Powers-Walker House

Located in Glacial Park | Trail Map

The Powers-Walker House is a rich educational and historical resource that is open for special events and programs throughout the year. By participating in these events, visitors gain insight to the early settlers’ connection to the land. Annual events include the Ice Cream Social of 1858, Archeological Awareness and the Harvest Gathering of 1858.
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Prairieview Education Center

Located in Silver Creek | Trail Map
2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake
Phone: (815) 479-5779

Prairieview Education Center offers free and low-cost nature programs, youth group programs, summer camps, school field trips and nature-themed birthday . The facility hosts traveling exhibits, a reference library, and a family drop-in “Exploration Station.” It is located within Silver Creek Conservation Area, which offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing. 

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  • handicap accessible

    Accessible

R

Rush Creek Conservation Area

726 acres | 5.79 miles of trail | Trail Map
20501 McGuire Road, Harvard

Rush Creek Conservation Area contains a mixture of upland forest, oak and hickory woodlands, wetlands and sedge meadows. A small pond offers anglers a quiet place to fish, and features an almost six-mile long horseback riding loop. Visitors can rent out the picnic shelter for daytime gatherings, or small groups can reserve campsites and sleep under the stars. 

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    Features

  • hiking

    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • horseback riding

    Horseback Ride

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

  • camp

    Camp

  • snowmobile

    Snowmobile

S

Silver Creek Conservation Area

840 acres | 5 miles of trails | Trail Map
1009 Rawson Bridge Road, Cary

Silver Creek Conservation Area takes its name from the stream that threads its way through the site. Over 5 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails take visitors over a boardwalk through woodlands and wetlands. A small 1-acre pond for fishing is also featured, and Prairieview Education Center is located on the north side of the site.

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    Hike

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    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

Stickney Run Conservation Area

629 acres | 1.25 miles of trail | Trail Map
3216 West State Park Road, McHenry

Hikers and cross-country skiers can explore two .5 mile trail loops through the woods. A picnic shelter and a 3-acre pond for fishing are also available. Stickney Run is home to a wide range of wildlife species due to the variety of habitats available on this site. 

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  • hiking

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    Picnic

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    Fish

  • horseback riding

    Horseback Ride

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

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The Hollows Conservation Area

478 acres | 5.5 miles of trail | Trail Map
3804 US Highway 14, Cary

The Hollows is one of the District's most popular sites. Visitors can trek on over 6 miles of looped nature trails or cross-country ski on two miles of groomed trails in the winter. Group camp sites are available for those looking to pitch a tent, gather around a campfire and enjoy a starry night. The crystal clear waters of Lake Atwood (22 acres) make this a favorite of fishermen whether from shore, or in a canoe, kayak, or electric motorized rowboat.

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  • hiking

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    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish

  • cross country ski

    Cross-Country Ski

  • camp

    Camp

  • handicap accessible

    Accessible

Thomas Woods Campground

Located in Marengo Ridge Conservation Area | Trail Map
2411 N. Route 23, Marengo     

Spend a night outdoors in Marengo Ridge Conservation Area's Thomas Woods Campground. Camp by tent or RV. Most sites are non-electric, but we also offer two electric sites for RVs. Firewood is also available for purchase, so you can enjoy dinner cooked over a campfire and s'mores!
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    Features

  • camp

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W

Winding Creek Conservation Area

631 acres | 1.7 miles of trail | Trail Map
8415 Johnson Road, Hebron

The focal point of this site are ancient oak grove remnants. It also features a high-quality portion of Nippersink Creek. A 1.7 mile looped multipurpose hiking trail runs through restored prairie and woodland and circles the small 1-acre pond  where anglers can fish for largemouth and pan fish. 

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    Features

  • hiking

    Hike

  • picnic shelter

    Picnic

  • fish

    Fish