Interpretive Trail Guides & Apps

Interpretive Trails
Looking to take a hike but want more engaging information about where you are hiking? Many of our sites offer interpretive trail signs to help you learn more about your surroundings. 
Glacial Park Trail Guides
Four guides are available to download or pickup at the Lost Valley Visitor Center. The two-mile interpretive trail begins at the Visitor Center parking lot and follows the Deerpath trail loop. Experience this 3,300-acre gem while you discover the natural heritage of your surroundings.
  •  Geology   Roughly 12,000 years ago, the last of the glaciers retreated from this area, leaving the land behind them scraped, scarred, and shaped into unique landforms.The glaciers were hundreds of feet thick, and carried with them till — a combination of gravel, sand, and rocks — that was scraped up and engulfed in the mass of ice. Here at Glacial Park, we can see evidence of the glacier’s presence still today. This booklet helps to point out glacial landforms and explains the Ice Age and how it affected what is now Glacial Park.
  • Cultural History  The land that is now McHenry County has gone from being home to Native Americans to pioneers, from pioneers to modern day farmers, and is currently changing hands from farmers to those who would build homes and businesses. Each set of occupants has left signs of their impact on the land. The clues left behind help us to learn about our heritage and how we interact with the world around us. This brochure points out some of these clues and explains what parts of our heritage the Conservation District hopes to preserve, and what parts we are trying to reverse in order to preserve the county’s natural history.
  • Plant Life There are millions of types of plants. Each species holds a unique place in its ecosystem, but there are often certain groups of plants that live together under the same physical conditions. These groups are called plant communities. This brochure is not intended to be an identification guide for plants. Rather, it defines certain plant communities and their importance. Once you recognize a plant community and the species’relationships within it, you can then learn to identify the specific plants you should expect to find in the area.
  • Wildlife To see bears, mountain lions, elk, wolves, and bobcats here would be an awesome sight. In fact, you may have been able to see all of these animals in McHenry County had you been here 200 years ago. Unfortunately, they are no longer found here. We do still have the opportunity to see deer, opossum, bluebirds, turtles, and coyotes, among many others. By educating yourself, and educating others, you can increase your understanding and appreciation for these animals and hopefully, that way, they will continue to thrive in McHenry County.

All Trails
Find your way with All Trails
By AllTrails

IMG_1043 - Copy - Copy

All trails connects people to the outdoors with interactive trail maps. Scan QR codes at select kiosks, or search for our Conservation Areas in the app to find trail maps.

Prairie State Hiking App

Prairie State Hike App: Featuring Glacial Park, Silver Creek and A Paddle down Nippersink Creek

By Prairie State Conservation Coalition

This Illinois-based guided hike app features a self guided interpretive audio tour of a two mile hike through Glacial Park. When a user of the GPS supported app is walking near one of 12 numbered posts long the trail it will automatically start playing a voice recording of the information for that specific point of interest. The user can choose to listen or read the text on the screen, along with 4-5 images correlating to each stop. Visitors will learn about and explore the savanna, prairies, kames, and wetlands of this magnificent site.

Also available, a tour of the Nippersink Creek Canoe Trail which touches upon history, restoration and nature along the water trail. For those less inclined to use their phones while on the water, here is a print version.

Available for $.99 on both IOS and Android, download from the App Store or Google Play The app also includes several hikes from other open space agencies around the state that you can choose to download as well. 

Other Apps We Love
Participate in Scientific Research
Seek by iNaturalist

Learn More About Birds
Merlin by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Learn More About Plants
Snapseed (IOS) (Android)

Other Plant and Animal Guides

Peterson Guides

Visit McHenry County