From the Shabbona Grove Picnic Area, head across the half-mile-long earthen dam constructed in 1975 to create the lake.
Location: 41.7378959655762, -88.8578643798828
Ice on the Shabbona Lake Dam
Location: 41.7400970458984, -88.8504333496094
After the spillway at the end of the dam, turn L on the Tomahawk Trail.
Location: 41.7432632446289, -88.854118347168
Ignore the sign announcing that the trail is closed. Funding shortages prevent regular trail maintenance, but it’s still open to hikers.
Location: 41.7464561462402, -88.8530731201172
Continue straight ahead as the Papara Trail turns R. From here, the trail alternates between following the shoreline and running inland through the woods.
Location: 41.7499809265137, -88.8545913696289
After entering the grassland, the trail mounts a hill and then drops down between a finger of the lake on the left and reedy pond on the right.
Location: 41.7512741088867, -88.8551635742188
Continue straight ahead past the snowmobile trail heading to the right.
Location: 41.753532409668, -88.8622970581055
Keep straight ahead while passing another end of the snowmobile trail heading R. Then the trail squeezes between the campground on the left and the golf course on the right.
Location: 41.7544403076172, -88.8708572387695
Right after crossing the campground access road, turn L on Arrowhead Trail.
Location: 41.7523231506348, -88.8750762939453
On the banks of Indian Creek, look for signs of beaver activity: cone-shaped tree stumps with woodchips on the ground.
Location: 41.7484130859375, -88.8752670288086
As Indian Creek enters Shabbona Lake, it flows through this expansive, tree-fringed wetland. Keep an eye out for great blue herons, white egrets, and other waterbirds—some 30 species are said to drop in annually at Shabbona Lake.
Location: 41.743537902832, -88.8677215576172
Cross the park road that leads out to the concession area and boat launch on the left. Continue back to the parking area near the dam.