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Located in the heart of Illinois' largest concentration of natural lakes, Chain O' Lakes State Park is a water-oriented recreation area with outstanding opportunities for boaters, anglers and skiers.

The park borders three natural lakes - Grass, Marie and Nippersink - and the Fox River that connects the other seven lakes (Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead) that make up the Chain. In addition, the park contains a 44-acre lake within its boundaries, Turner Lake. With nearly 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline, Chain O' Lakes State Park is the heart of a water wonderland.

Chain O' Lakes State Park, located in northeast Illinois in both McHenry and Lake counties, became a state park in 1945 when the State of Illinois made an initial purchase of 840 acres. In the 1930s, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp became the Chain O' Lakes Conservation Area, and was incorporated into the state park in 1957.

The park features seven picnic areas and four trail systems. The Nature's Way hiking trail starts at Oak Grove Picnic Area and is 2 1/4 miles in length. The Pike Marsh North Picnic Area has an accessible trail that a quarter-mile long. The park also contains 8 miles of equestrian trail and a 6 miles biking/hiking trail.

Camping is popular at Chain O' Lakes, with more than 230 campsites and a youth group camp. Camping reservations are accepted at ExploreMoreIL™ or by calling 866-716-6550. Youth groups sites must be booked through the park office, please call 847-587-5512.

Fishing is popular in the Chain O 'Lakes, featuring bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish and yellow and white bass -​ as are seasonal hunting programs for dove, waterfowl, archery deer and permit pheasant hunting.

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. All hunting is by registration only.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Park Hours

Summer hours 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Winter hours 8:00 a.m. to Sunset.

Summer hours take effect April 1st and terminate the last weekend in October when hunting begins and the entire park is closed for hunting.  Hunting is by registration only.

Entrance gates will be locked from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am during summer hours and sunset to 8 am during winter hours. Tire shredder is activated. Campers may leave at any time, but re-entry to park will not be possible.  



  • Chicago - North on I-94 to Rt. 173 exit; west Rt. 173 15 miles to Wilmot Rd; south 1 ½ miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.
  • Rt. 12 from West Suburbs - West on Rt. 12 thru town of Fox Lake to Wilmot Rd.; North Wilmot Rd. 2 miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.
  • Wisconsin - South I-94 to Rt. 41; Rt. 41 south to Rt. 173; west Rt. 173 to Wilmot Rd.; south 1 ½ miles to entrance; park entrance on east side.

Other Information

  • While groups of 20 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times and clean up after them.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.

Park Information:

Northeastern Illinois

8916 Wilmot Road

Spring Grove





chain o lakes site map

Other Parks in Illinois:

Map of Illinois DNR Regions State Parks in Northwestern IllinoisState Parks in Northeastern IllinoisState Parks in East Central IllinoisState Parks in West Central IllinoisState Parks in Southern Illinois