By Fuzzy Monkey
The Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological site is one of the parks in the McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Richmond, IL. The Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological Site consist of 345 acres.
Elizabeth Lake has well-groomed hiking trails. Since there are two separate entrances you have the option to hike either loop. The wooden observation deck offers a nice resting spot along the trail. The trails in Elizabeth Lake are pretty level making hiking suitable for all ages and experiences.
The park contains two (1 mile) hiking trails. There are two separate entrances to the park one from Hawk’s point road and one from Lakeview road. Each entrance has access to one of the loops. There is a .1 mile trail that connects both loops. The trails in Elizabeth Lake are actually mowed grass. (See Elizabeth Lake Photo Album) Most of the trail meanders through open spaces with views of the lake and surrounding farms. There is little shade along the trails. The terrain is flat with only one dip that I noticed just short of the observation deck. The observation deck allows visitors to rest and enjoy views of Elizabeth Lake off in the distance.
Other amenities at Elizabeth Lake include a large grassy area for picnics. The Lakeview parking lot accommodates 20 vehicles and one handicap accessible space. The Hawk’s Point parking lot accommodates 15 vehicles and one handicap space. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Please note there are no shelters, tables or grills at Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological Site. If you plan on picnicking at Elizabeth Lake you’ll need to bring your own equipment.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological Site.
My visit to Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological Site was during the summer 2011 (June 16, 2011). I did not carry water with me during my hike. I ended up spending much more time at the observation deck and reading the interpretative signs and kiosk. I wish I would have carried water with me during my hike. Be sure to bring your own water as there is no well water pump on site.
The mosquitoes were slightly annoying during my visit which I expected being close to a major water source. I recommend some form of bug repellant or dressing appropriately if hiking in the summer. After leaving the park I found several ticks on my legs. By several I mean I had 4 ticks that I had to pull off me. Be sure to check yourself after any summer hike in Elizabeth Lake Varga Archaeological Site. I wore shorts, a button down cotton shirt, hiking shoes, socks and sun hat. I wish I would have worn light hiking pants instead of shorts. Since there is little shade I was also glad I worn a sun hat. I also carried an iPhone with the trails app installed to measure my distance and location within the park.
I visited during the week and there wasn’t a soul in the park. If you are looking for peace and quiet, visit the park during the week rather than the weekend to avoid any crowds. Visitors can find a self guided map at the kiosk by the parking lot or download the map from the McHenry County Conservation District website. For more reviews of parks in McHenry please visit my McHenry County Hiking post.