Day 184 ~ McDonald Woods Lake Villa, IL

September 25th, 2016 ~ Day 184


Deciding to go to a place I have never been, I headed over to Lake Villa to do the McDonald Woods Trail, part of the Lake County Forest Preserve. I never knew this trail existed. I can’t tell you how many times I traveled down Grass Lake Road, and I never noticed this preserve.

Growing up here, I never realized how much Lake County has to offer. There are 64 different locations for various outdoor activities, almost all of them include hiking trails. When I lived here I hadn’t discovered hiking, even though I loved the outdoors. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come back to visit and for the opportunity to explore the many places I have never been.


The flowers are still in full bloom. So many flowers growing along the sides of the trail. A little bit of summer remains before the freezing cold of winter begins. It was a warm day and since I began my hike at noon, the sun was shining brightly.


The trail began with tightly packed small gravel. It is at least four feet wide. Great for bikes as well as hiking. A nice clean trail. It seems most of the trails I’ve hiked on in the Lake County Forest Preserve are well maintained like this one.


In the same instance the flowers are still blooming, fall has begun. Little patches of colorful leaves sprung up. Reds, oranges and yellows. Had I been here a week or two later the colors would have been everywhere, but I’ll take what little bit I can get.

I love this picture! The fence, the rocks and the beautiful colors of the leaves all seem to remind me of my childhood.


After the first mile, I found a decent sized pond. The trail actually cut through the pond with a little bridge. It was a nice change from the desert, where there is no water.


I found a painted turtle, which I almost stepped on as I was trying to take a picture of the pond. He pulled his head in as I got closer, but at least it was a turtle, and he couldn’t run away fast enough for me to not take a picture.


Soon after I passed the pond I veered right onto the wood chip trail. Obviously named because that’s what the trail was made of.


I continued on through the woods and found a creek. Leaves were beginning to fall into the forest floor. The wood chip trail brought me back to the pond and I decided I would just head back to the trailhead. I ended up hiking a little over two miles. It was a beautiful trail, and I’m happy I decided to try a new place.

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