Located in the heart of Illinois' largest concentration of natural lakes, Chain O Lakes State Park is a water oriented recreation area with outstanding opportunities for boaters, anglers and skiers. The park borders three natural lakes - Grass, Marie and Nippersink - and the Fox River that connects the other seven lakes (Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead) that make up the Chain. In addition, the park contains a 44-acre lake within its boundaries. The 2,793 acre state park and adjoining 3,230 acre conservation area are located in the northeastern corner of Illinois in both McHenry and Lake counties. The park is 60 miles northwest of Chicago, 20 miles west of Lake Michigan and only 4 miles south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. With nearly 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline on the chain, Chain O Lakes State Park is the heart of water wonderland.

These instructions and perspective are from on foot. The trail is shared with horses. I encountered a fair share of horse droppings.

I started the trail going right. The trail is great for beginners or if you're out for a quick relaxing hike. There is only one small elevation gain and everything else is extremely gradual. There are not a lot of views of lakes or fields you will mostly be in forested area. Along the trail I saw 3 wild turkey, 2 white tailed deer, hawk feathers and a couple chipmunks.

RE Hike to trailhead:

The trailhead the gps takes you to from All Trails is a "Do not enter" with a u-turn cul-de-sac. If you're following those GPS coordinates from All Trails, I recommend stopping at the parking lot right before you reach the destination. From there, there is a .2-.3 mile hike to the "trailhead".

When you reach the end of the road on your way to the trailhead, there will be a gate. Walk around the gate on the gravel road to your left. The trail head is there shortly after (.1 mile).

Other notes RE trail:

About 2 miles in, when the trail is reaching the end, it appears as if you are going the correct way if you head right. You will find this takes you far from where you started. I recommend when reaching the "PARK .5 mile | OFFICE ⬆️" you follow the gravel road to your left back to that gate on the approach. As you can see on my recording of the trail, it starts going the way of the originally recorded post but then does not appear to have any plans of looping back. I might continue next time to see where it ends up but the goal today was a short 2 mile hike back to my car.

Hopefully this helps anyone trying to have that short hike they planned for or have an idea of what to expect otherwise.

8 months ago

Nice long walk with kids and dogs! Very beautiful ❤️

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Good family trail. Well maintained and easy for all ages.

live by this park since I was born so it's not exciting to me as much as other people, we launch our boat there, pretty clean trail, nice boat ramps also really funny to sit and watch people pull their boat in and out. all in all nice.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My husband and I discovered these trails earlier this year. We enjoy the different types of trails and our dog likes to be out and about too. A lot of people bring their dogs and their is also camping.

mountain biking
Thursday, August 30, 2012

This was beautiful terrain. We're not super athletic and are more used to flat terrain in the suburbs of Chicago. I see the reviews mention easy but actually for us the hills gave us a good run for the money (a bit challenging and a fantastic workout). Very scenic, some trails rough gravel but most are good compacted crushed limestone.

Wonderful area to go hiking. Well maintained. Rent a boat but the Chain is big so get one with w motor. Bring lunch and great company .....

Monday, October 24, 2011

first of all, there are no mountains, so not worth a 'peAk', but is worth a peek. The park has a few different trails to choose from. I like the Goldfinch trail, which begins for the most part by the park office. The trail winds around and down by the river. You may be able to see fox, deer, mink, coyotes, turkeys, hawks, cranes (lots of kinds of birds), turtles etc... On the paths by the 'pines' you can see an osprey nest in the distance--if lucky the osprey. The loop I always take is about 1.75 miles, and easy terrain. If you take the blue loop trail, it is a bit more difficult, and is shared by horses, but it is a nice trail to go on. The mud Lake trail overlooks Grass Lake in one part. All the trails are wide enough, and easy enough to navigate. The park offers maps. This is also where you can load your boat to get onto the chain (need a sticker to use waterway). They also rent boats (canoes, paddle boats), which is a nice ride up north on the river. This is a busy park for hiking, jogging, biking, X-country skiing, horses. It also has a very nice, well-kept, separated campground area (no 'drinking' in campgrounds). There is no charge yet, to get into the park (like other states), average charge for camping, though. This park does close during (I believe) Nov. and Dec for hunting, so check out the web page first. You can access it through the DNR. I love this park, it is one of the best kept/maintained parks in the area.

mountain biking
Tuesday, October 04, 2011

limerock road, nicely maintained, great views. Good hills but not really hard.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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