Kennekuk Cove County Park
by David Scott
http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r3/middle.htm (Middle Fork Park website)
http://www.vccd.org/gikennekuk.html (Kennekuk County Park website)
Kennekuk Cove County Park has 17 miles of trails, of which the trail around Lake Mingo (7.1 miles) is of most interest.
This is best started from Horseshoe Pond, a short distance off to the right from the main road through the park. Signposts point around the trail in a counter-clockwise direction. When tackled in this manner, the hardest section of the trail comes first. There are no real hills on the trail, but it is by no means flat: The route largely follows the grassy/wooded bank about fifty feet above the lake, but dips frequently and generally steeply down to lake-level to cross creeks or inlets of the lake, and then steeply climbs up again. In muddy conditions, good tread on your shoes is advisable. Most of the creek crossings are bridged (11 bridges in all, most in the first three miles). The bridges have been recently repaired, and are not as bouncy as they used to be. After 5 miles, the trail emerges from the woods onto a track which leads to the dam. The road on the far side is followed to the main road, which is crossed, and the trail goes through bushes and a prairie area. Turn left on the grassy trail to head to the historic buildings; just beyond here is Horseshoe Pond. Kennekuk Road Runners hold a race on the Mingo trail in early June. In alternate years, it runs clockwise and counter-clockwise.
Breakfast: Oakwood Truck Stop (south side of I-74).