Marengo Ridge Conservation Area


Over Easter weekend we met my in-laws at the Chicago Northwest KOA in Marengo.  I have been wanting to check out the Marengo Conservation Area for quite sometime now and finally had a chance to sneak away from camp for a much need early spring hike! We took my sister-in-law and our niece with us along with the dogs and gave my in-laws a few hours peace and quiet and headed out for our first hike of the season!

The Marengo Ridge Conservation Area is locate on the  Marengo Morraine, which was created as the Wisconsin glacier retreated 24,000 years ago.  The trails wind through oak and hickory woodlands as well as a grassland. 

 Checking out the map!

Checking out the map!

 Click the map for an enlarged version from the MCCD.

Click the map for an enlarged version from the MCCD.

The kids like to hunt for 'monster clues' when we are in the woods, so they like to run up ahead and point out anything that a monster could have left behind.  Fallen logs become monster traps. A tree stump becomes a monster tunnel. Large puddles become pee. That's what they become. 


We had intended on doing a long hike, but ended up on the Short Hiking Loop 0.6 mile Interpretive Trail. The trail was quite muddy (it had rained a few days before) and my niece slipped and fell within the first five minutes so there was some issue with that.  But eventually we were able to move past it and continue on monster hunting!

There are so many great activities you can do to keep kids engaged on the trail.  Nine out of ten times, they will just amuse themselves with sticks, stones, dirt, animals, pretty much whatever you see, but sometimes it's nice to have an activity, like a scavenger hunt, to participate in. 


The trail looped us back around to the parking lot but we decided to check out the scenic view point from on top of the ridge before we left.  It was super windy and the kids were having a hard time with the wind at first, so we turned it into a game where we had to walk up the hill backwards (so the wind was at our backs). I'm glad we made it up - the view was great! They had just done a prescription burn- but new plants were starting to grow and you could see all the glacial till deposits underneath and we could see for miles! We will definitely make our way back here for more hiking and hopefully camping at the Thomas Woods Campground located in the park!