Lake Defiance Trail

EASY 8 reviews

Lake Defiance Trail is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Mchenry, IL that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

3.8 miles 202 feet Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running


cross country skiing




wild flowers

A multi-use trail system through woods, wetlands around a glacial lake. This is very nice, well maintained trail system of alternating asphalt pavement and crushed limestone, that is one of several hikes in the Moraine Hills State Park near McHenry, Illinois. The trail system can be used by day-hikers, bikers, and (in the winter) cross-country skiers. The park service here does an excellent job of making sure that the bike traffic flows in one direction, minimizing the stress for the day-hiker, The trail winds it way through alternating sections of woodland and wetland as it meanders its way around its namesake, Lake Defiance. The trail offers nice views of the glacial lake and some excellent birding opportunities, as the wetlands and woodlands provide homes for water fowl, kestrels, falcons, red wing balckbirds, orioles, and many others. The park service offers guided hikes and birdwatching on many days, call ahead for a schedule. Water is available through pumps on the hike, and there are concessions at the park station.

7 months ago

8 months ago

Really nice state park.

9 months ago

1 year ago

Love this park. Loads to see as you walk. Great place for bikes too!

2 years ago

Nice trail, easy with minimal elevations. Late October hike the leaves are gone, but still some birds and reptiles to see (turtles an garter snakes).

3 years ago

4 years ago

The grounds are well kept and the hiking is great. My husband proposed to me on Lake Defiance and will always return whenever we visit Illinois. TIP* bring bug spray

trail running
5 years ago

Very nice trail. Lots of wildlife and things to see. Also nice that other trails connect to this loop (like the McHenry Dam) so you can turn this run into a longer loop.