Chain O’Lakes State Park
Open: Open all year
Number of Sites: 238
Number of Sites with Electric: 238
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.
The park features seven picnic areas with tables, water fountains, grills and toilets. Oak Grove, Maple Grove and Oak Point have playground equipment.
Chain O Lakes has four trail systems. The Nature's Way hiking trail starts at Oak Grove Picnic Area and is 2 ¼ miles in length. The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has a trail especially designed for disabled users that is ¼ mile long. The park also contains an equestrian trail with three loops and a total length of 8 miles. Visitors can bring in their own horses for enjoyment on the trail. In the winter all trails can be used by cross-country skiers.
Among the popular fish available to anglers in the Chain O' Lakes are bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish, yellow and white bass. Due to the marshy nature of much of the park's shoreline, most fishing takes place from boats or fishing piers.
Ice skating and ice fishing are popular activities when the temperature drops and the ice thickens. During winter months, the horse trail, bicycle trail and Nature's Way trail can be used by cross-country skiers. During the winter months the park office doubles as a warming house. Sledding is another popular winter activity. Snowmobiling is not permitted in the park, but access to the frozen lake water is provided for snowmobile enthusiasts.
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