Guide to Cross Country Ski Trails in McHenry County

Cross country skiing is a great way to get exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. Best of all, it’s a great way to explore McHenry County during the winter months as there are ski trails all around the county. Fortunately, it’s also an activity that can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. For the athletes in the crowd, cross country skiing helps with balance, coordination, endurance, and strength which makes it a beneficial sport for off-season training as well.

Cross country skiing is also an activity that can be done solo or in groups. There are many different types of cross-country ski trails throughout the county, from groomed paths to ungroomed, through woods or across plains. Most trails are suitable for beginners, though there are a few that cover more difficult terrain that offers more challenge for experienced cross country skiers. No matter where you are in McHenry County, rest assured, you won’t have to go far to find cross-country skiing near you from flat to hilly and everything in between.

Also, be sure to check our guides for Sledding Hills and Ice Skating Rinks in McHenry County.

All information is subject to change and we always recommend contacting the specific locations to verify conditions and availability, especially those that are weather dependent.

Cross country skier.

Cary Cross Country Skiing Trails

Fel-Pro RRR Conservation Area

While the park has two entrances, the west entrance may be better for cross-country skiing. Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this site is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 1900 Crystal Lake Rd, Cary, IL 60013

Phone:

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Fox Bluff Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this site is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 1300 Cold Springs Rd, Algonquin, IL 60102

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, McHenry County Conservation


Hickory Grove Highlands Conservation Area

Hickory Grove is actually one of three combined sites and the address listed here is specific to this site. A section of trail is solar lit for part of the year so visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing or hiking in the evening. Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this site is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 500 Hickory Nut Grove Rd, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Kaper Park

Maintained by the Cary Park District, this neighborhood park is composed of over 15 acres, including a playground, shelter, and several soccer fields.

Address: Georgetown Dr & Cimarron Drive, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 847-639-6100

Information: Park Details


Lions Park

Maintained by the Cary Park District, Lions Park is home to sledding in addition to cross country skiing. The park closes at dusk.

Address: 1200 Silver Lake Rd, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 847-639-6100

Information: Park Details


Lyons Prairie & Marsh Conservation Area

Lyons Prairie & Marsh is actually one of three combined sites and the address listed here is specific to this site. Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this site is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 7000 S Hickory Nut Grove Rd, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Sands E Main Street Prairie

Maintained by the Cary Park District, this 64-acre park features walking paths that are available for cross country skiing during the winter months.

Address: E Main St, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 847-639-6100

Information: Park Details


Silver Creek Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 840-acre site is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Silver Creek features several cross-country skiing trails. When there are four inches or more of snow, four miles of north-end trails are groomed for cross-country skiing, and a 1.5 mile, relatively flat, trail loop at the southern end is groomed for skate skiing. A skate ski trail differs from a traditional cross country ski trail by being packed, but not tracked.

See also the Prairieview Education Center information.

Address: 1009 Rawson Bridge Rd, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


The Hollows Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 478-acre site is open daily from sunrise to sunset. During the winter when there are four inches of snow, two miles of trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.

Address: 3804 Hwy 14, Cary, IL 60013

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Crystal Lake Cross Country Skiing Trails

Butternut Preserve

Maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District, Butternut Preserve is located just west of West Elementary School.

Address: 9214 Butternut Dr, Crystal Lake, IL

Phone: 815-459-0680

Information: Details, Crystal Lake Park District


Lippold Park

This 310-acre multi-use park is maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District.

Address: 851 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Phone: 815-459-0680

Information: Park Details, Crystal Lake Park District


Prairieview Education Center (Silver Creek Conservation Area)

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, the Prairieview Education Center is located within the Silver Creek Conservation Area and provides access to the northern cross country skiing trails. When there are four inches or more of snow, four miles of north-end trails are groomed for cross-country skiing.

Address: 2112 Behan Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District

Sterne’s Woods & Fen

This 185-acre nature preserve is maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District. Open from dawn to dusk.

Address: 5617 Hillside Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 60012

Phone: 815-459-0680

Information: Park Details, Crystal Lake Park District


Veteran Acres Park

This 140-acre park is a year-round favorite. Maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District, it is a popular winter spot for both cross-country skiing and sledding. Open from dawn to dusk.

Address: 431 Walkup Rd, Crystal Lake, IL 60012

Phone: 815-459-0680

Information: Park Details, Crystal Lake Park District


Harvard Cross Country Skiing Trails

Rush Creek Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, in the winter months when
4 inches of snow is present, 2 miles of trails are groomed for cross country skiing. Trails are on relatively flat terrain, ideal for beginning skiers, while still providing scenic
variety and longer lengths for the intermediate skier. Open from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 20501 McGuire Rd, Harvard, IL 60033

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Lake in the Hills Cross Country Skiing Trails

Lake in the Hills Fen Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 408-acre conservation area is open from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 1500 Jefferson St, Lake in the Hills, IL 60156

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, McHenry County Conservation District


Marengo Cross Country Skiing Trails

Coral Woods Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 794-acre conservation area is open from sunrise to sunset. It features 1.5 miles of trail that is open for cross country skiing. While the trail is not groomed, it is on relatively flat terrain, ideal for beginning skiers.

Address: 7400 Somerset, Marengo, IL 60152

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, McHenry County Conservation District


Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 818-acre conservation area is open from sunrise to sunset. Marengo Ridge is suitable for both beginners as well as intermediate cross-country skiers.

Glide through blanketed woodlands and stride across the frozen prairie on cross country skis. When there are four or more inches of snow, skiers can enjoy over four miles of groomed trails. There is a 2.2-mile trail designated for beginners, as well as a 2.3-mile trail for intermediate skiers.

Address: 2411 N Rte 23, Marengo, IL 60152

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


McHenry Cross Country Skiing Trails

Stickney Run Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, the west trail loop provides .8-miles and the east trail loop provides .69-miles of cross country skiing. Open from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 3216 West State Park Rd, McHenry, IL 60050

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, McHenry County Conservation District


Ringwood Cross Country Skiing Trails

Glacial Park Conservation Area

This massive conservation area is Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District and is home to year-round activities, including sledding and snowmobiling trails, in addition to cross country skiing. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 6705 State Rte 31, Ringwood, IL 60072

Phone: 815-678-4532 (Lost Valley Visitor Center), 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Prairie Trail North

Prairie Trail North is part of the 26 miles of bike and walking trail, that may also serve for cross country skiing with enough snowfall. While accessible from various locations between Algonquin to Richmond, the address here is for Glacial Park.

Address: 6705 State Rte 31, Ringwood, IL 60072

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Wonder Lake Cross Country Skiing Trails

Harrison Benwell Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this 75-acre park features 1.6 miles of cross-country skiing trails. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 7055 McCullom Lake Rd, Wonder Lake, IL 60097

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


Woodstock Cross Country Skiing Trails

Brookdale Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this conservation area features a 1-mile looped trail, especially ideal for advanced skiers due to the steepness of the trail. Open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Address: 2105 Paulson Rd, Woodstock, IL 60098

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, McHenry County Conservation District


Pleasant Valley Conservation Area

Maintained by the McHenry County Conservation District, this conservation area provides visitors an opportunity to try snowshoeing and cross country skiing (when there is at least 4 inches of snow) on 2.7 miles of groomed trails that are perfect for beginners or those skiers who like a longer route.

Additionally, a .5 mile solar lit trail, located on the east side of the entrance, is open until 9 p.m. daily, November through March to allow visitors to get out on the trails after dark.

Address: 13315 Pleasant Valley Rd, Woodstock, IL 60098

Phone: 815-338-6223

Information: Park Details, Status, McHenry County Conservation District


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President and Founder of Identity Developments, LLC, the parent company of the McHenry Life website. My hope for McHenry Life is to create a resource and destination for the residents and businesses of McHenry County alike. A place where residents can discover new places to explore, fun events and ways to spend time, and then share those experiences with others. A place where businesses can connect with existing and potential customers, and not simply market their businesses, but share their own unique stories.

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