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. With nearly 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline, Chain O’Lakes State Park is the heart of a water wonderland.
Chain O’Lakes State Park, located in northeast Illinois in both McHenry and Lake counties, became a state park in 1945 when the State of Illinois made an initial purchase of 840 acres. In the 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp became the Chain O’Lakes Conservation Area, and was incorporated into the state park in 1957.
The park features seven picnic areas and four trail systems. The Nature’s Way hiking trail starts at Oak Grove Picnic Area and is 2 1/4 miles in length. The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has an accessible trail that a quarter-mile long. The park also contains 8 miles of equestrian trail and a 6 miles biking/hiking trail.
Camping is popular at Chain O’Lakes, with more than 230 campsites, three cabins, and a youth group camp. Camping reservations are accepted at www.reserveamerica.com.
Fishing is popular in the Chain O’Lakes, featuring bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish and yellow and white bass –