Places (I Value)

Glacial Park in Ringwood, Illinois

I live just north of Chicago, and one of my favorite places to hike is Glacial Park, about 60 miles northwest of downtown Chicago in McHenry County. Within the space of about 3,300 acres, you can experience just about all of the landscapes that Illinois has to offer: tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, marsh, and bog. It even has hills, which are a rarity in this part of the country. The hills are kames, which are formed from deposits of gravel bulldozed by retreating glaciers more than ten thousand years ago.

The park has eight miles of trees for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. In addition, Nippersink Creek, which winds through about half of the park, is excellent for canoeing or kayaking. I first started hiking there in 1996. At that time, the creek had been re-routed by the previous farmer-owner to circumvent a field, which he then planted. In the year 2000, the McHenry County Conservation District painstakingly returned the creek to its naturally meandering course across the field, creating a picturesque wetland. It’s a gathering place for ducks, great blue herons, and other bird species.








Stock photo credit: New Hampshire Mountains © nialat —