Moraine Hills State Park Hike

McHenry, Illinois 60297

Moraine Hills State Park Hike

Moraine Hills State Park Hike Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"It’s a good thing this hike is 8 miles long—the entire distance is needed for you to get a complete picture of Moraine Hills’ mosaic of marshes, lakes, prairies, bogs, wooded hills, and streams.

Dogs must be leashed. There are 800 acres of wetlands at Moraine Hills—be sure to bring mosquito repellent. Cross-country skiers and cyclists must follow the directional arrows; hikers may proceed in any direction. The non-profit group that supports the park has a website

More Moraine Hills State Park Hike Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"When the last glacier receded from the landscape at Moraine Hills State Park nearly 16,000 years ago, it left behind a mosaic of marshes, prairies, bogs, hills, and streams, as well as the park’s centerpiece, Lake Defiance. The landscape surrounding Lake Defiance is peppered with a series of moraines—mounds of dirt and gravel. While these glacially sculpted hills aren’t huge by any measure, they offer a welcome retreat for nearby Chicagoans."
Best Hikes Near Chicago (Falcon Guides)
Adam Morgan
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"When the glaciers covering the Upper Midwest disappeared 10,000 years ago, this is what they left behind. The hills and boulders surrounding these wetlands are ancient remnants of the very same ice age that once created a land bridge across the Bering Strait, allowing humans and animals to cross from Asia to the Americas. Today, these natural totems of the past make for a unique landscape just an hour north of Chicago, full of rolling hills usually found farther north in Wisconsin. This slowly undulating trail circles Lake Defiance, a shallow but sprawling mecca for local anglers."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
2–3 hours
Park open daily, 6 a.m.–9 p.m.; nature center open Friday–Sunday, April–November, 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m
Boat Launch/Ramp, Boating, Fishing
Additional Use
USGS Topo: Wauconda, IL
Local Maps

Trail Log