Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
15.00 ft (4.57 m)
Trail type
1.20 mi (1.93 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Loop is a 1.2-mile-long trail near Richmond, Illinois. The trail is located in the Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Varga Archeological Site which contains a large and diverse wetland habitat. The site is managed by the McHenry County Conservation District and Is open from sunrise until sunset. The parking area for this trail is located east of Richmond 0.7 miles north of Illinois Highway 173 (Kenosha St) on Lakeview Road. The parking lot can accommodate about twenty vehicles. There are no fees for using the park. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be on a leash.

Ther trail begins at the northwest corner of the parking lot. There is a viewing platform near the trailhead. This loop is a wide mowed trail that passes through and near various wetland environments including Calcareous Floating Mat, Marsh, Sedge Meadow, and Prairie habitats. After about a half mile there is a small loop that has another viewing platform. When returning to the parking lot, the trail splits near an osprey nesting platform. Take a right to hike a different section of the trail. This section of the trail leads to the south end of the parking lot.

The Elizabeth Lake Nature Preserve Loop can be enjoyed by visitors of almost all abilities since there is very little elevation change. Besides the various habitats that the trail passes though, hikers can view Elizabeth Lake which is a kettle lake formed by glaciers about 18,000 years ago.


Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)


Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Diverse wetland habitats.


Can be buggy including ticks.

Trailhead Elevation

804.00 ft (245.06 m)

Highest point

806.00 ft (245.67 m)


Near lake or river
Family friendly
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Adventures

Richard Bong State Recreation Area, Wisconsin


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