Trails, Shelters & Pet Rules

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Trails are Open Daily

"Year-Round" during Park Hours 

Shoreline Fishing Available Until Lake is Ice-Covered

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East Trail

Peninsula "West" Trail


Pet Rules


Three Oaks Recreation West Trail

  • Enjoy walking, hiking, running and biking through over twenty-eight acres of restored native prairie flowers, originating off the parking facility. 
  • All trails are "out-and-back" in design.
  • Two paved pedestrian/bike trails enter the park alongside the roadways (see Entrances & Parking page), and the trail at Main Street connects with the McHenry County Conservation District Prairie Trail Bike Path providing a convenient access point. 

East Trail (.5 Miles)

  • Meandering half-mile sandy trail starts by the Marina Building and winds its way along the East Shoreline. 
  • Morning bass fishing favorite
  • Easy access to the water and one stone fishing outcrop.
  • Park bench where you can rest and snap great pictures at the end of the trail before heading back.

Peninsula ("West") Trail (.75 Miles)

  • Largest and most-popular trail, a .75-mile sandy trail starting at the base of the entrance hill where the switchback blacktop walkway enters the park.
  • Meanders along the lake and connects to shoreline fishing, with two fishing piers and two stone fishing outcrops along the water's edge. 
  • The Board House (paddleboarding and sailboarding) is also located off the trail.

Trail Shelters

West Trail Shelter

  •  Near the end of the trail is a shelter with three picnic tables where you can enjoy a picnic (no fires allowed).
  • Available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The shelter (shown below) is adjacent to the path, close to the trail's end.
  • Overlooks the South Lake and sits close to key shoreline fishing stations.
  • Three stationary picnic tables under the shelter, and one stationary picnic table in the open.
  • No electricity. Maximum of 20 people. No reservations - first come/first served basis.

       Three Oaks Recreation Area West Trail Shelter overlooking lake

East Trail Shelter

  • The shelter (shown below) is located just off the gravel service road trail overlooking the North Lake in a private and peaceful setting.
  • Two stationary picnic tables under the shelter and one stationary picnic table in the open.
  • No electricity.  Maximum attendance of 20 people. No reservations - first come/first served basis.

       Three Oaks Trail Shelter near Pedestrian Gate

Pet Rules

  • Dogs are only allowed on the trails if kept on a short leash and owner pickup rules are adhered to.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the water, picnic grounds, Marina or Lake House. 
  • Convenient doggie litter bags and drop stations are provided at the start of trails. 
  • Doggie water station is available at the water fountain located near the Scuba Zone off the East Trail.
  • Pets should never be left in your vehicle. Even on cool days, the sun can heat up the inside of a vehicle to very high temperatures.

          Woman walking dog on Three Oaks trail