By Fuzzy Monkey
Photo Album – Prairieview Conservation Area
The Prairieview Conservation Area is one of the parks in the McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Crystal Lake, IL. The Prairieview Conservation Area is also considered part of the Silver Creek Conservation Area.
Prairieview is one of the education centers of the McHenry County Conservation District. Prairieview offers great hiking along with the learning opportunities through-out the park. The education center offers great views of the restored prairie. Hikers have the opportunity to hike down to the fox river from the main trail outside the education center.
Prairieview has 4 distinct areas for hikers totaling 3.8 miles. The West Hiking trail is .5 mile trail and offers an interpretative bird house exhibit. The Short loop which is the closest to the education center is 1 mile. The long loop is 2 miles and the river trail is .3 miles long. Both the short loop and the long loop wind through nicely restored prairie. The river trail winds through light forest to the Fox River.
The trails are actually mowed grass with some dirt and mud on some of the more shaded regions of the trail mainly the river trail. (See Prairieview Photo Album) The short and long loop trail offer gentle rolling terrain which adds more effort to the hiking.
Other amenities at the Prairieview Conservation Area include a large grassy area with picnic tables, a gazebo. Water and restrooms can be found in the education center. The education center also has a small library. The main parking lot accommodates 35 vehicles.The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking the Prairieview Conservation Area
My visit to Prairieview was during the summer 2011 (July 8, 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 water in the education center. The mosquitoes were slightly annoying closer to the river than hiking around the prairie sections. I recommend some form of bug repellant or dressing appropriately. I wore shorts, a button down cotton shirt, hiking shoes, socks and sun hat.
I enjoyed the interpretative bird house exhibit on the west hiking trail. Prairieview is defiantly a place to slow down and enjoy the hiking and views. I’ve visited Prairieview several times and I’m grateful such a wonderful park is close to my home. Its one park I’ll continue to visit.
Prairieview is also the location of summer nature programs and summer camp. If you are looking to avoid this type of crowd during the summer phone ahead to find out what’s going on before you head out.
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 web site. For more park reviews visit Fuzzy Monkey’s McHenry County Hiking post.