An archery range for target practice is located on Rt. 173 West of the Fox River for target practice. The range and trails are open May 1st until the beginning of the hunting season (closing date varies). Hours are 8 a.m. – sunset.
There are four surfaced bike trail in the park totaling 6 miles. Goldfinch Trail, Badger Trail, Sunset Trail and Cattail Trail. For a map of the bike trails please click here.
A user fee issued by the Fox Waterway Agency is required for all boats using the Chain O’ Lakes. Call 847-587-8540 for agency regulations. There is no charge to launch boats at the park, nor is there any horsepower limitation on boats using any of the Chain O' Lakes. Only electric trolling motors only are allowed on Turner Lake, a 44-acre lake inside the park. All watercraft must comply with State of Illinois Watercraft rules and regulations.
Chain O’ Lakes has Class A-Premium areas (Honey Suckle Hollow and Fox Den) with a total of 151 sites. Sites are for $25 per night, except on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends when the fee is $35 per night. Three Class B-Premium camp areas (Turner Lake South, Prairie View and Mud Lake East) have a total of 87 sites for $12 each per night. One youth group camp area (Mud Lake West) will accommodate 150 youths with a fee of $2 per person (minimum $20 per night). Maximum stay at campsites is 14 nights in a 30 day period. A responsible adult (18 years of age or older) acquiring a permit must have a camp shelter and set up at the time of registration. All campers must have a permit (receipt for payment). Gathering of firewood from the park is strictly prohibited. Alcohol is prohibited in the campgrounds.
Reservations are available for camp sites, youth groups and shelters. A non-refundable reservation fee of $5 plus camping fee is required to reserve campsites and youth groups. Shelters are $50, non-refundable. Reservations are accepted at ExploreMoreIL™ or by calling 866-716-6550. Youth group sites must be booked through the park office, please call 847-587-5512.
The park's concession stand is open January - October. Hours to vary / check website. Offers food, ice, firewood, soft drinks, ice cream, fishing equipment and baits, and camper supplies. Boat and canoe rentals are available. The required safety equipment must be provided by the user or rented from the concessionaire. For additional information call 847-587-7165 or visit Gillsonthechain.com
Among the popular fish available to anglers in the Chain O' Lakes are bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish and yellow and white bass. Due to the marshy nature of much of the park's shoreline, most fishing takes place from boats or fishing piers.
Dove, waterfowl, archery deer and permit pheasant hunting are available at the park. Hunting fact sheets, containing all hunting regulations, are available at the park office and online. All hunting is by registration only.
Chain O’ Lakes State Park features seven picnic areas, Oak Point, Deer Path, Hickory Grove, Pike Marsh, Oak Grove, Catfish Cove and Maple Grove, with tables, water, grills and toilets. Oak Grove and Oak Point have playground equipment. Oak Point, Deer Path, Oak Grove and Catfish Cove have picnic shelters. Reservations and a $50 fee are required for shelters. Groups of 20 or more must secure advanced written permission for picnics from the Park Office. Shelter reservations can be made online at ExploreMoreIL™ or by calling 866-716-6550.
Facilities for Visitors with Disabilities
The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has been developed to provide accessibility for disabled and/or elderly visitors, including a quarter-mile hiking trail. We have 6 class A accessible sites.
Chain O' Lakes has four trail systems. The Nature's Way hiking trail starts at Oak Grove Picnic Area and is 2 ¼ miles in length. The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has an accessible trail that is ¼ mile long. The park also contains an equestrian trail with three loops and a total length of 8 miles. Visitors can bring in their own horses for enjoyment on the trail. A parking lot for horse trailers with access to the equestrian trails is located near the park entrance. A biking/hiking trail, 6 miles in length, can be accessed at any picnic area between the concession stand and the park office. All trails can be used by cross-country skiers.
Ice skating, snow shoeing, sledding and ice fishing are popular activities when the temperature drops and the ice thickens. Ice fishing is available on the Chain O’Lakes and Turner Lake. Sledding is another popular winter activity, a sledding hill is available at the park office. Chain O’Lakes State Park also ties into McHenry County snowmobile trail near Wilmot Rd, no access for parking to unload or load snowmobiles. When snowfall is sufficient, cross-country skiers can use the horse trail, bike trails and the Nature’s Way trail. Snowmobiling is not permitted in the park, but access to the frozen lake water is provided for snowmobile enthusiasts, parking is available at the boat launch.