By Fuzzy Monkey
Photo Album – Pleasant Valley Conservation Area
The Pleasant Valley Conservation Area is one of the parks in the McHenry County Conservation District. Located in Woodstock, IL. The Pleasant Valley Conservation Area consist of 1,777 acres.
Pleasant Valley offers some wooded trail, but mostly open grasses and fords to enjoy. Hiking in the park is essentially divided into 5 sections. Each section is a loop that can be accessed from one of the three parking lots. Each loop is labeled according to how long it is. There is a .5 mile loop just off the main entrance. A .4 mile trail that leads from the early morning parking lot. A .9 and .8 mile loop towards the center of the park. A 1.2 mile loop towards the back with a .4 connected loop. (See Pleasant Valley Brochure & Map). Pleasant Valley also offers equestrians a .8 mile trail that traverses from north section of the park to south section of the park.
As with all the trail throughout the district the trails are wide and well-groomed. The terrain in the park is gently rolling hills. The hiking is not difficult but the hills did add a little bit of effort to the hiking.
Other amenities at the Pleasant Valley Conservation Area include 2 distinct picnic areas. They are labeled Shelter #1, and Shelter #2. They both have picnic tables, water. The one restrooms is near the main parking lot. Pleasant Valley also offers an Amphitheater. One of the larger shelters is nearby. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Fuzzy Monkey’s advise on hiking the Pleasant Valley Conservation Area
My visit to Pleasant Valley was during the Fall 2011 (October 6, 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. My gear included jeans, a button down shirt, hiking shoes, socks, camera, video camera and hat.
My hike started at the early morning parking lot. I followed the horse trail to the south section of the park. I then turned around and retraced my steps back to the small pond near the main parking lot. I followed the remainder of the trails and just followed the circles around to complete all the trails of Pleasant Valley.
The trails included the interpretative signs of the area. My total time in the park was about 2 ½ hours. I was happy as I witnessed several small snakes and was able to video one of them directly on the trail. See video of pleasant valley. The horse trail section of the park is pretty open only touches forest section near the amphitheater section of the park.
I enjoyed my visit to Pleasant Valley. I also visited the park in early October which is my favorite time to hike as the mosquitoes were nonexistent. October is a great time to visit the park and I recommend visiting during this time.
I visited during the week and 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 website. For more park reviews visit Fuzzy Monkey’s McHenry County Hiking post.