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Get outdoors and start hiking!

From the changing colors and falling leaves to the crisp, cool air, fall is a veritable feast for the senses.

There’s no better way to experience it all than meandering through autumn’s splendor. You don’t have to travel far in McHenry County to find a fabulous fall hike the whole family can enjoy. Whether you are looking for a casual stroll or a day-long challenge, there’s a local trail to fit the bill.



When you’re in the mood for a quick hike, search out one of these peaceful paths.

  • Coral Woods in Marengo is in the midst of a maple forest. Take your pick from the 0.4-mile Maple Sugar Loop, the 1.2-mile Foot Trail or the 1.2-mile Mowed Grass Trail.
  • Marengo Ridge features a half-mile interpretive trail as well as the 2.6-mile Kelly Hertel Nature Trail.
  • Fel-Pro RRR in Cary has a paved 1.2-mile loop—along with a picnic area and restrooms.


When a slightly longer walk sounds appealing, try one of these trails.

  • Rush Creek in Harvard offers both a 1.5- mile interpretive hike and a 2.75-mile trail through stands of oak, hickory and black cherry trees.
  • Ridgefield Trace is a 3-mile trail running from McHenry County College to Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake.


For a longer outing, explore all or part of these paths:

  • Glacial Park is a hiker’s dream, with a variety of trails that combine for more than five miles of hiking, including:
    • Coyote Loop Trail (1.2 miles)
    • Deerpath Trail (2.1 miles)
    • Marsh Trail (1.1 miles)
    • Valley Road Spur Trail (0.6 miles)
  • Prairie Trail, a total of 25.9 miles in length, includes 17 paved miles. It connects to several other trails, including the Fox River Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path, for more than 100 total miles of spectacular fall exploration.


Consider these ways to improve your walk this fall:

  • Start slowly. If you’re new to exercise, start with a brief walk and eventually extend your exercise time. Aim to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • Capture the beauty. Take a camera on your walk and shoot photos of the fall colors. Encourage your friends and family to get outside and walk by posting the photos on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Enjoy time with a friend. A buddy will keep you motivated and provide one-on-one time that decreases stress and helps you feel connected.
  • Stay hydrated. Fill your favorite water bottle with cold water at home and remember to sip it along the way.
  • Dress in layers. Fall mornings and evenings can be crisp and cool, while afternoons can become uncomfortably warm if you’re overdressed. Take a light jacket, and as the weather cools, consider light gloves to keep your hands warm.
  • Center your thoughts. Fall walks offer the opportunity to focus on deep breathing. Choose to repeat a meditative phrase, pray or quiet your mind as a break from everyday stresses.


These are just a few of the outdoor gems McHenry County has to offer. Explore more and find information on hikes and interpretive trails.