By Fuzzy Monkey
Photo Album – Glacial Park Conservation Area
The Glacial Park Conservation Area is one of the parks in the McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Ringwood, IL (McHenry County). Glacial Park Conservation Area is an awesome 3,298 acres.
Glacial Park Conservation Area contains over 6 miles of trail. Located in the town of Ringwood this is an amazing park with lots to see. The Lost Valley Visitors center is a must when visiting Glacial Park. Visitors can also enjoy the nicely restored Powers-Walker House and Wiedrich Education center. Hikers will definitely enjoy the varied terrain of the trails in Glacial park.
The Coyote Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long and runs through savanna and restored prairie. Visitors can easily access this trail from the main parking lot. Appropriately named a loop so visitors can park and then hike back to their cars. The actual trail is a wide grassy path. The terrain is gently rolling and easy to moderately difficult.
The Deer Path Trail is 2.1 miles long and is also a loop trail. The trail winds through grasses, prairie, and fords. Deer Path is easily accessed from the Wedrich Education Center parking lot. The trail terrain is gently rolling and easy to moderately difficult. If you’re here to see the Camel Back Kames then this is the trail for you. Wonderful views await the hiker on top of the Camel Back Kames.
The Marsh Loop Trail is 1.1 miles and winds around a large marshy section of the park. It appears the boardwalk section of this trail is no longer maintained. Much of the boardwalk is under water and overgrown. The Marsh Tail is right in the middle of the Wedrich parking lot and the Main parking lot. Visitors can park at either one and walk a very short distance to access the Marsh Trail.
Valley Road Spur Trail is a .6 mile straight trail. This can be accessed from the Deer Path Trail or from Valley Road. (Refer to Glacial Park Map) The Trail to Bridge Spur Trail is a .8 mile long trail that leads to Keystone Landing and parking lot. The Trail to Bridge Trail can be accessed from the Deer Path Trail or from Keystone Landing.
If you add up the mileage for the trails listed above you get 5.8 miles. The Glacial Park information brochure mentions over 6 miles of hiking. It may be safe to assume the other .2 or more miles comes from the short branches connecting the various trails. In addition there is also short hiking around the Amphitheater, which I’m not sure is included in the numbers MCCD posts online or in their brochures.
The main parking lot otherwise known as (Kettle) can accommodate 20 vehicles. There is one handicap vehicle spot. Kettle does have a restrooms, well water, shelter and grills. The Harts road parking lot can accommodate 25 cars, 1 handicap vehicle. Harts road has restrooms, well water, shelter and grills.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking Glacial Park Conservation Area
My visit to Glacial Park was during the summer 2011 (August 8th, September 6th,). I did not carry water with me during my first visit. I had my water bottle in the car which was adequate for my first visit. My second visit I changed clothing and brought a camelbak for my water. I recommend bringing your own water as there is well water but this tends to have a distinguished smell and taste that turns most people off.
I absolutely enjoyed my Glacial park visit and hikes. During my first visit it was hot and humid which brought out a lot of mosquitoes and bugs. If visiting during the hot summer months I recommend dressing appropriately or bringing some form of bug repellant. I learned all this from my first hike and changed my clothing for my second visit. During my second visit I wore light hiking pants, a light breathable long sleeve shirt, and hat. Although it was not as humid during my second visit I would still recommend light pants and long sleeve shirt. This not only keeps the mosquitoes and bugs at bay but it also keeps the sun off. A pair of sunglasses would also round out appropriate hiking attire at Glacial park. I was talking lots of pictures and filming which is one reason I don’t usually wear them but wish I had them at times.
I visited during the week on both trips to the park. The Lost Valley Visitors center is also located here so you will run into cars driving in and out of the park. During my first visit I parked at the main parking lot and saw a few people. My second visit I parked at the Harts road parking lot and witnessed several bicycles and hikers. Hikers 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. If you’re a cyclists maps of the Prairie Trail can be found at the Harts parking lot. For more park reviews visit Fuzzy Monkey’s McHenry County hiking post.