The Illinois Department of Natural Resources maintains a number of State-owned and operated parks. Many of these picturesque public parks are located in and around the natural lakes scattered throughout the state. Chain O’Lakes State Park sits within an area that has a significant concentration of these gorgeous natural lakes, near the Wisconsin border. The water oriented location makes it an ideal get a way for those seeking to engage in outdoor recreation.
The Chain O’Lakes State Park offers a large variety of things for visitors to do. There is a boat ramp that is free for visitors to use. There are no horsepower limits on the lakes. There is a user fee per boat that is paid upon registration. Owners can pay the fee and get their sticker at the park concession stand or boat launch. Visitors can also choose to rent a boat or canoe.
The Chain O’Lakes State Park provides anglers the opportunity to fish for a variety of species. The lakes have a substantial number of bass, pike, crappie, walleye, and bluegill fish. There are also many other species that inhabit these natural waters. Anglers will need a boat to participate in the fishing fun, as the shores of the lakes are marshy and difficult to access on foot. Fishing permits and fees are obtained through official park outlets.
Hunters can also find a lot of wild game in the Chain O’Lakes State Park. All hunters must register with park officials. They need to obtain the appropriate license and permits. Rules are strictly enforced for everyone’s safety. Fact sheets will be provided at registration. Hunters can expect to find dove, deer, pheasant and various waterfowl. There are 2,500 hunt able acres in the park. Terrain includes woodlands, marshes, prairie, and ponds. There are various times throughout the year when the park may be closed to the general public. This is done to allow for hunting designed to control wildlife populations. The DNR officials will announce pertinent information such as quotas and other restrictions. Hunting is not allowed on the eighty acres of nature preserve.
Visitors can rent horses between May and October. The horse barn and corral are just past the west entrance to the park. The stable also organizes hayrides for visitors. The surrounding terrain features rolling hills nestled in a primitive setting. It is perfect for spending a day exploring the area. Bring a picnic, and make a day out of it. The stable also offers wagon tours, pony rides, and tons of trails to follow. Visitors may also bring their own horses to the park.
Winter time provides a myriad of different activities in which to participate. Once the ice on the lakes thickens, skating and fishing are immensely popular. The trails are open to cross-country skiers. Sledding is a tremendous hit with kids of all ages, because of the rolling, hilly terrain. Snowmobiling is only allowed on the lakes.
There are multiple facilities available to support campers. There are over three hundred camp sites with electricity. There are also non electric and primitive camping sites. There are four separate rally camps, a canoe camp and even youth tent areas. For families looking a few more modern conveniences, rent one of the family cabins in the park. They are like a home away from home. These cabins are in particularly high demand in the winter. Most include two bedrooms, one bathroom, living room, kitchen and screened porch.
There is a daily entrance fee that will cover the car and all passengers. It is five dollars for Illinois state residents and seven dollars for out of state visitors. People who enter the park on foot, bike or horseback the fee is two dollars per day. There is a five dollar per day horse permit required for those who bring their own mounts to the park. The park also offers an annual entrance permit at a significant discount of thirty six dollars a year.
Large group of twenty five people or more need to register with the park officials. The park has multiple camp stores that can provide food, fire wood, and other essential supplies. The park’s physical address is 8916 Wilmot Road Spring Grove, IL 60081. They can be reached by phone at 847-587-5512. They also have a Chain O’Lakes State Park website where visitors can gather information, make reservations, and get park permits.