Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Loop is a 1.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Richmond, Illinois that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Ten to twenty thousand years ago, glaciers moved across the land, burying the Chicago area in 2,000 – 3,000 feet of ice. Visitors to Elizabeth Lake will notice evidence of this glacial movement in the landscape surrounding the lake and the lake itself. Elizabeth Lake is a kettle lake, a steep bowl shaped hole in the ground that was formed by a leftover chunk of melting ice and is now filled with meltwater and precipitation.
Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Varga Archaeological Site trail is 1.7 miles long featuring parking areas (east & south), garbage cans, interpretive signage and overlooks. The area is a large, diverse wetland community composed of every different stage of high-quality wetland, including: graminoid fens, calcareous floating mats, graminoid bogs, marshes, low gradient creek, pond, lake, sedge meadow, wet prairie and dry Mesic savanna. Lake Elizabeth is the highest quality lake ecosystem remaining in McHenry County and one of the highest in Illinois. Site has 29 species of native fish, at least 200 species of plant life, 55 species of birds, 15-20 butterfly species, and 20 state threatened and endangered species including Iowa darters, pugnose shiners, sandhill cranes, and black terns. Several different kinds of wildlife can be spotted, including white-tailed deer, raccoon, rabbit, muskrat, woodchuck, beaver, marsh wren, sora rail, green frog, smooth green snake and other small animals.