Review of the Coral Woods Conservation Area
By Fuzzy Monkey
Photo Album – Coral Woods Conservation Area
The Coral Woods Conservation Area is one of the parks in the McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Marengo, IL. The Coral Woods Conservation Area consist of 775 acres.
Coral Woods is great for getting into the woods. The Nature Loop trail is rugged and runs through somewhat thick forest. The Hiking/Ski trail is also excellent for hiking and getting out into nature. Both trails are a great combination for the hiking enthusiast. The total mileage in Coral Woods is 2.8 miles. The park features 2 long loops and 2 shorter loops for hiking and sightseeing.
The Nature Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long. A sign near the entrance to the trail posts that it’s rugged terrain. The trail runs almost entirely through somewhat thick forest. The trail is easy identifiable while you’re hiking. There are tree roots and water eroded crevasse on the trail which is why the trail is labeled rugged. The uneven surfaces makes for more challenging hiking on the Nature Loop Trail. There are several bridges and boardwalks on this section of the trail. It appears these are to minimize damage to the trail during heavy rainfall or spring run off.
The Hiking/Ski Trail is also 1.2 miles long. About half of this trail is in forest and the other half runs through grasses and fords area. The grassy section of the hiking/ski trail slopes nicely downhill and offers the visitor great views of the surrounding area. The actual trail on this section is mowed grass. The sections of trail that runs through the trees is rugged to well groomed.
The Sugar Maple Loop is .4 miles long. This trail is wide and well groomed. The trail itself is crushed gravel which makes for easy hiking. The Sugar Maple trail winds past the shelter and restrooms. There are also short extensions that connect to the Sugar Maple Loop. I’m unsure if MCCD includes the milage for these section in the overall milage count. They are short and allow visitors access to the other trails.
Other amenities at the Coral Woods Conservation Area include nice grassy area’s with picnic tables, 2 Water Fountains and Port a Potty. (Restrooms out of order) A great shelter complete with fireplace. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking the Coral Woods Conservation Area
My visit to Coral Woods was during the summer 2011 (September 7, 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 that turns most people off. I wore light hiking pants, a button down shirt, hiking shoes, socks and hat.
I enjoyed my visit to Coral Woods. The scenic views on the Hiking/Ski trail are nice. The rugged terrain of the Nature Loop trail reminded me of more challenging hiking on the AT or PCT. I also visited the park in early September and most of the mosquitoes were gone, which made the hiking really pleasant. The trees are barely starting to show signs of turning colors. It really was a great time to visit the park and I recommend visiting during this time.
When driving to the park visitors are routed through a neighborhood of large homes on Somerset Dr. The parking lot and driveway inside the park have been recently re-paved and are nice and level.
I visited during the week and only saw a few people. 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.
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