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. 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 and a youth group camp. Camping reservations are accepted at ExploreMoreIL.
Fishing is popular in the Chain O'Lakes, featuring bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish and yellow and white bass - as are seasonal hunting programs for dove, waterfowl, archery deer and permit pheasant hunting.
Dove, waterfowl, archery deer and permit pheasant hunting are available at the park. Hunting fact sheets, containing all hunting regulations, are available at the park office. All hunting is by registration only.
Chain O'Lakes State Park is open every day except Christmas. Summer hours, April 1 thru the last weekend of October, are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. During the winter, the park is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. The park is closed for all activities, except hunting, from the beginning of November until January 1st.
- Chicago - North on I-94 to Rt. 173 exit; west Rt. 173 15 miles to Wilmot Rd; south 1 ½ miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.
- Rt. 12 from West Suburbs - West on Rt. 12 thru town of Fox Lake to Wilmot Rd.; North Wilmot Rd. 2 miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.
- Wisconsin - South I-94 to Rt. 41; Rt. 41 south to Rt. 173; west Rt. 173 to Wilmot Rd.; south 1 ½ miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.
- While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
- At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on leashes at all times and clean up after them.
- Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.