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Moraine Hills State Park & McHenry Dam State Park

Gates open at 8 am. Closing time is posted as you enter.



2020 Deer Season Updates:

In order to adhere to the phase 4 guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health the following changes have been made to our lottery for the 2020 season.

*Only permit holders may attend the lottery. No other individuals may attend unless approved by the site staff prior to the meeting.*

The First Season permit holders will meet at 11:30 am. The Second Season permit holders will meet at 1:00 pm.

Please do not attend the meeting if you are not feeling well. All attendants must wear a mask. If you cannot make the meeting please contact the Park Office by Nov. 6th.

Standby opportunities for the Saturday and Sunday of the second season will only be made available if a hunter station becomes vacant prior to the hunt. Please contact the Park Office prior to November 7th if you are interested in standby opportunities. Standby Hunters should not show up to the lottery meetings or check station unless contacted by site staff.



From fishing to hiking and biking - from lush habitat and rare plants to watching a wealth of wildlife - Moraine Hills State Park is home to a recreational bounty in northeast Illinois. Located 3 miles south of McHenry in McHenry County, the park is located near the Fox River and McHenry Dam, with about half of the park's 2,200 acres composed of wetlands and lakes.

In 1939, the State of Illinois made the initial McHenry Dam State Park land acquisition of 15 acres on the east bank of the Fox River. Major acquisition of the Lake Defiance area began in 1971, and construction of park facilities took place in the spring of 1975. The present Moraine Hills State Park opened in October 1976.​ The park name is derived from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier.

The 48-acre Lake Defiance, located near the center of the park, is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped, maintaining a near-natural condition.

The waters and wetlands of Moraine Hills are home to abundant wildlife; more than 200 species of birds have been identified at the park.  Fishing is available on both Lake Defiance and on the Fox River. The McHenry Dam area provides access to the Fox River, and a fishing pier accessible to visitors with disabilities is available.  More than 10 miles of trails make Moraine Hills popular for hikers, skiers and cyclists, and provide one of the park's main recreation features.

The concession stand at the McHenry Dam provides refreshments, bait and tackle, and boat rentals for both the Fox River and Lake Defiance.  ​

Closing times vary with the season; plan to be back to the parking lot no later than sunset.  Closing time might be EARLIER than that so PLEASE look for the closing time posted as you enter.​

Park Information:

Northeastern Illinois

1510 S. River Rd
McHenry IL 60051




N: 42.323
W: -88.227

Other Parks in Illinois:

Map of Illinois DNR Regions State Parks in Northwestern IllinoisState Parks in Northeastern IllinoisState Parks in East Central IllinoisState Parks in West Central IllinoisState Parks in Southern Illinois