By Fuzzy Monkey
The Brookdale Conservation Area is one of the parks in McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Woodstock, IL. Brookdale Conservation Area consist of 1,645 acres.
The park provides 1.1 miles of hiking/walking trail. Brookdale is also the headquarters of the McHenry County Conservation District. The administrative offices, police and visitors center are located here. A wonderful 11 acre pond affords anglers the opportunity for fishing. Hikers will find the pine forest section of the park a nice change from the prairie like terrain found at most of the other parks.
The Park Features three distinct section of trail. There is a .2 mile “waters edge trail” that follows the banks of the pond and offers spots for anglers to set up and fish. A .9 mile “main hiking trail” climbs up the hilly section of the park and into the pine forest. Another .1 mile “short cut trail” splits the main hiking trail into two sections. The trail itself is mowed grass and well-groomed. The water’s edge trail is flat and easily suitable for all ages and experiences. The main hiking trail and short cut trail feature some hilly terrain which is graded well and easy to hike. Wonderful views of the pond and surrounding area await hikes on the main trail.
Visitors should be aware there are two entrances to the park. The main parking lot can accommodate 10 vehicles. There is a second entrance to the park on Paulsen Road. This entrance features a large shelter for 75, well water, restrooms and grills. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking Brookdale Conservation Area
My visit to Brookdale was during the summer of 2011 (June 30, 2011). I did not carry water with me during my hike. I had my water bottle in the car which was adequate. I recommend bringing your own water. If you forget there is well water, but this tends to have a distinguished smell and taste which turns most people off. The well water can be found at the shelter area, which is on the other side of the park if our at the main entrance.
I do recommend some form of bug repellant or dressing appropriately. I wore shorts, a button down cotton shirt, hiking shoes, socks and sun hat. I also carried an iPhone with the trails app installed to measure my distance and location.
I’m glad I wore the hat as it was sunny and warm the day I visited. If I had to do it over again I’d wear light pants even when its hot to keep the sun off. I also recommend a pair of sunglasses. The main hiking trail offers plenty of shade as you walk through the pin forest section. There is plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing. I was treated to a blue heron standing on the edge of the pond fishing as I walked along the water’s edge trail. I imagine anglers are treated well as I witnessed fish bubbling up in the water as I hiked along the trail.
I visited during the week so the office parking lot was crowed. I also ran into several people while hiking the trail. One visitor was on his 5th lap of the main trail. I also met a few of the employees at the visitors center. Hikers 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 on hiking in McHenry please visit my McHenry County Hiking post.
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