Exploring Chain O’Lakes Part I – Meet the “Chain”

Located primarily in the western portion of Lake County, the Chain O’Lakes waterway system is comprised of 15 lakes connected by the Fox River and manmade channels. The “Chain,” as it’s commonly called, includes 7,100 acres of water, 488 miles of shoreline and 45 miles of river. The Fox Waterway Agency oversees the system.

The lakes are popular with boaters and anglers, drawing summer weekend crowds of 60,000 people. In fact, the Chain is the busiest inland recreational waterway per acre in the United States.

The Chain is also home to Chain O'Lakes State Park, which borders three lakes at the northwestern corner of the system, including Grass, Marie and Nippersink lakes. The Fox River links the other seven lakes (Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead) that make up the Chain. Opened in 1946, the park is managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The park provides a free launch ramp, which is situated on the west bank of the Fox River just north of Grass Lake. Additionally, there are three ramps at Oak Point, which is just east of the Fox River Bridge on Route 173. Boats are available for rent at Chain O'Lakes Park.

The park is open daily except for Christmas Day. The hours of operations are:

Summer: 6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (April 1 – last weekend in October)
Winter: 8:00 a.m. - sunset. (December 26 – March 31)

In the fall, the park is closed from the beginning of November until mid December for all activities except hunting.

Be sure to check out the below interactive map of the lakes found on FunontheFox.com. It’s a must-have for a day boating on the Chain O’Lakes and features marinas, restaurants, gas stations and more that you may need on your next boating adventure.

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Chain O’Lakes State Park
8916 Wilmot Road
Spring Grove, IL 60081

If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, include the hashtag #BoatingLakeCounty on your photos so that we can re-share the beauty of Lake County.

If you find the Chain overwhelming at first, stay tuned. In the next “Exploring Chain O’Lakes” blog, we’ll dive into some of the larger lakes that make up the Chain.


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