Winter Adventures Await
Bundle up and explore McHenry County’s great outdoors.
When the weather gets cold and the snow starts piling up, don’t get stuck indoors. With the proper planning and warm clothes, you can enjoy winter as much as any other season. Winter adventures don’t have to be elaborate, expensive or take place in the Great White North to provide a great opportunity the whole family can enjoy. Put all that fresh snow to good use, bundle up, get active and discover the great outdoors!
- Sledding: Grab your favorite tube or saucer for some good old-fashioned sledding fun where laughter is abundant. The sled hill at Glacial Park in Ringwood (by the Wiedrich Barn) is perfect for an afternoon of free, unsupervised snow play. Don’t forget to pack a thermos of hot chocolate. Check out 7 of the best hills in McHenry County here.
- Winter hiking: Maybe you’d rather hit the trails and enjoy a winter hike. Getting outdoors, even for a short loop, can energize you and make you feel more productive. The winter landscape offers solitude, inspiration and a place to get away. Explore the wooded trails at Coral Woods Conservation Area in Marengo, Hickory Grove Conservation Area in Cary or Rush Creek Conservation Area in Harvard.
- Cross-country skiing: Want to get some exercise and enjoy the winter landscape? Take to the trails for some cross-country skiing. The district has both beginner and advanced trails. Go at an enjoyable leisurely pace or strain our quads to the limit. Either way, nothing can compare to the joy of cruising across a sparkling winterscape, feeling perfectly at ease with the motion and the wilderness. Pleasant Valley and Hickory Grove Highland stay open nightly until 9 p.m. for night skiing along solar-lit trails. A skate ski trail has also been added at Silver Creek.
- Ice fishing: You didn’t already put away your fishing gear, did you? If so, dig it back out. There are plenty of fish to be caught on a snowy day, when the ice is good and solid. Pack up the auger, lures, jigging rods or tip-ups for a few hours of fishing fun. Don’t forget your fishing license. Try your luck ice-fishing at The Hollows or Lyons Prairie & Marsh in Cary, Rush Creek in Harvard or Stickney Run in McHenry.
- Winter camping – yes, camping! To really experience the outdoors this time of year, try winter camping at Marengo Ridge in Marego, which provides a different perspective into nature. There are several advantages to winter camping, including: Trees have shed their leaves, providing unobstructed vistas where the clear and open view is unparalleled; clear night skies offer great star grazing opportunities; winter camping can provide a feeling of solitude; and night time sounds carry easily, enhancing an audio landscape of coyotes, owls, trees snapping and ice cracking.