Description - *This information was provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources*
Whether you visit for an afternoon or stay a few days, you will leave Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area with many happy memories. Located in Stephenson County just west of Route 73 on Lake Road, the park is six miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and three miles north of Lena.
Highlighted by a 40-acre lake and all the recreational opportunities there, the park also offers multi-use trails, picnic areas, and RV, tent, equestrian and youth group campgrounds.
Developed as part of a statewide plan to provide Illinois citizens with recreational opportunities close to home, the park was started with a land acquisition program in 1948 and was dedicated as a 715-acre State Recreation Area 10 years later.
Lake Le-Aqua-Na’s name is the result of a contest sponsored by the Stephenson County Sportmans Club, one of the park’s many sponsors. The name is a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin word for water, aqua.
Three engagements of the Black Hawk War took place within a few miles of the park, and a minor skirmish occurred very near the park in the mid-1800s. A year after the war ended, the first permanent settler in Stephenson County, William Waddams, built a home just west of the current park site, along a trail that was to become the principal east-west route across northern Illinois for stagecoach and early automobile traffic. A small community was established and extended east into the park site.
- The Lake-
You can swim at the beach, boat or fish in Lake Le-Aqua-Na. A typical Midwestern manmade lake, the water is moderately clear, due to good watershed practices and the use of an axial-flow destratifier that mixes the lake water to keep oxygen levels high at all depths. Lake Le-Aqua-Na is one of only a few lakes in Illinois to use this device.
RV, tent, equestrian and youth groups are all accommodated in the various campgrounds. While there are just a few secluded sites, the majority are open and spacious with adequate shade available on most.
There are a large number of electric sites and water is conveniently located throughout the areas.
While the RV campground is open year-round, the shower building with flush toilets and the trailer dump station are operational only from May 1 - Nov. 1.
Reservations are highly recommended for the major holiday weekends, but are usually not necessary at other times during the summer.
The equestrian campground has a shelter, vault toilets and a hand pump for water. Access to the area is on county roads that border the park, not the main park entrance. Contact the park office prior to your equestrian outing, as the campgrounds and trail may be closed due to wet conditions.
Advanced written permission is required to utilize the youth camping area which can accommodate up to 50 youths.
Recreation - Trails-
Whether you enjoy hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing, 7 miles of marked trails include something for everyone. Pets are welcome to enjoy the trails with you, but must be kept on their leashes.
Ice-fishing, sledding and cross-country skiing are popular attractions at Lake Le-Aqua-Na during the winter months, but there are no trails or facilities for snowmobiling. All ice activities should be limited to areas away from the lake’s destratifier unit, where open water and thin ice make these activities less safe.
Completed in 1956, the lake provides fishing, boating activities and a swimming beach. Whether you bring your own boat or rent one from the concessionaire, you will enjoy the beauty of the 1.4 miles of wooded shoreline the lake offers, even if you do not plan to fish. A launching ramp is located adjacent to the concession stand. Only electric motors are allowed on the lake.
Periodic stockings of walleye, northern pike and channel catfish compliment the lake’s self-sustaining largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and bullheads. Brush piles and fish cribs are located throughout the lake and provide the perfect habitat for the fish population. To keep the supply abundant, however, regulations governing catch limits and sizes are strictly enforced.
A disabled persons fishing pier is located near the swimming beach so that all visitors to the site can enjoy angling.
A small beach, particularly suited to children is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There are no lifeguards in attendance, so swimming is at your own risk, and alcohol is strictly prohibited.
Whether you are planning a picnic for two, have invited the whole family, or even the whole neighborhood, Lake Le-Aqua-Na has a picnic site to suit your needs. All sites include tables and grills. For those who like to plan ahead, two picnic shelters with electricity may be reserved in advance, beginning Jan. 2 each year.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
FROM THE CHICAGO AREA: Take I-90 west to Rte 20 west at Rockford. Travel on Rte 20 west to IL 73 north (Approximately 60 miles). Turn right onto IL 73 and go north 2 miles into the town of Lena.
Turn left on Lena Street. Proceed .4 mile, turn right onto Lake Road and go approximately 3 miles to Park entrance.
FROM THE SOUTH: Take I-39 to Rte 20 west of Rockford. Travel on Rte 20 west to IL 73 north (approximately 58 miles). Turn right onto IL 73 north, go 2 miles into the town of Lena. Turn left onto Lena Street. Proceed two blocks, turn right onto Lake Road and go approximately 3 miles to Park entrance.
FROM THE WEST: Travel on Rte 20 east to IL 73 north. Turn left onto IL 73 north and to 2 miles into the town of Lena. Turn left onto Lena Street. Proceed .4 mile, turn right onto Lake Road and go approximately 3 miles to Park entrance.
FROM THE NORTH: Take WI 69 south which will turn into IL 26 south at the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Take this to the town of Orangeville. Turn right in Orangeville on McConnell Road. Cross IL 73. The road then turns into Lake Road. Go on Lake Road to Park entrance.