Go Out Hiking!

Eventually, spring will arrive in the Chicago area, and it is not too early to prepare to spend time outside. Of course pulling out all your spring/summer clothes and packing away winter clothes. It is also a time to put on your hiking boots and head out to a forest preserve, enjoy nature blooming and beautiful hiking trails. There are many pristine areas in McHenry County so it can be hard to choose. Gerstad Builders has put together a list of preserves to enjoy.

Glacial Park, Ringwood

This gem is one of McHenry’s most treasured preserves. With over 3,400 acres of land to explore with beautiful prairies and the quiet flow of the Nippersink Creek, anyone hiking this area will leave feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated. Glacial Park prides itself in protecting 40 state endangered plants and animal species and is one of the top five areas to view the region’s migratory wetland birds. 

Lake in the Hills Fen, Lake in the Hills

Opening in 2011, there are 229 acres to explore that are adjacent to the Lake in the Hills Fen State Nature Preserve. An interesting fact about this preserve is that it has 4 out of only 26 acres of hanging fens. What exactly is a hanging fen? Picture a single layer of clay exposed and water is able to seep out of the clay. Different from single source springs, the seeping water exits the ground along the line of the exposed clay. When the exposed clay layer is along a hillside or near the top of a hill, the water emerging runs downhill, thus creating a hanging fen.

Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve & Varga Archaeological Site, Richmond

This beautiful diverse wetland is composed of different stages of high quality wetland. Such as; marshes, calcareous floating mats, sedge meadow, graminoid bogs, low gradient creek and wet prairie. Lake Elizabeth, rated by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory as the highest quality lake ecosystem remaining in McHenry County and one of the highest in Illinois. Enjoy a wide range of plant life, birds species, butterfly species, and some endangered species. If you are lucky while walking a trail you might encounter 

many types of wildlife. For example; rabbits, beavers, white-tailed deer, woodchucks, and marsh wrens.

High Point Conservation Area, Harvard

This conservation area has the highest glaciated point in Illinois at 1,189 above sea level. This area is an attractive habitat for some of the declining grassland bird species. High Point Conservation Area provides hikers with a nature preserve that proves how spectacular mother nature can be.  When visitors walk the looped 1.25 miles of nature trails, they will be treated to scenic views, and the chance to observe wildlife in its natural habitat.

This list is just a few of the forest preserves located in McHenry, IL that people of all ages can enjoy. Whether you like to walk, run or even bicycle, you will be able to explore beautiful areas and take in the nature around you.

Gerstad Builders is a family-owned and operated company, committed to constructing high-quality homes. Each community has been built with dedication, integrity, knowledge, and value that will afford you the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. For more information about our homes or to learn more about Gerstad Builders, fill out our contact form.

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