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  Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area   

Northwest Region

8542 North Lake Road
Lena, IL 61048
Creek running through park
Boating History Picnicking
Camping Hunting Swimming
Concession Lake Trails
Directions Natural Features Winter Sports


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 6 miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and 3 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 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.

Natural Features

Oak, hickory, walnut and other hardwood trees are in abundance, along with large tracts of pine plantation. A good variety of woodland wildflowers, including Dutchmans breeches, bloodroot and bluebells, cover the ground in the spring and early summer. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other small animals are often seen in the wooded areas, and deer also are frequently sighted.

Observant visitors might catch a glimpse of a badger. For many years, Lake Le-Aqua-Na was the only state recreation area where badgers could be seen. They have begun to populate other state recreation areas and are becoming less rare.


Three engagements of the Black Hawk War took place within a few miles of the park, and a minor skirmish occurred 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

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.

Trails  |  MAP

Whether you enjoy hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing, 8.5 miles of marked trails include something for everyone. Pets are welcome to enjoy the trails with you, but must be kept on their leashes.

Winter Sports

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.

Concessions - Concession stand is currently closed until a new concessionaire can be found.

Everything from canoes and paddleboats to food is available at a conveniently located concession stand. The concession is open May 1 through Sept. 15.


Completed in 1956, the lake provides fishing, boating and a swimming beach.Bring your own boat and enjoy the beauty of the lake's 1.4 miles of wooded shoreline. A launching ramp is located adjacent to the concession stand. Only electric motors are allowed.


Periodic stockings of walleye, northern pike and channel catfish compliment the lake’s self-sustaining largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and bullhead populations. Brush piles and fish cribs are located throughout the lake and enhance habitat for the fish population. To keep the supply abundant, however, regulations governing catch limits and sizes are strictly enforced.

An accessible fishing pier is located near the swimming beach.


A small beach, particularly suited to children, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. No lifeguards in attendance so swimming is at your own risk. 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.

Camping  | Youth Group Reservation Form

RV, tent, equestrian and youth group campers are all accommodated in the various campgrounds. Few sites are secluded, with the majority open and spacious with adequate shade available on most.

A large number of electric sites with water are conveniently located throughout the campgrounds. 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 - November 1. To make reservations for the camground, go to www.reserveamerica.com

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.

Camping at Lake Le-Aqua-Na is a very relaxed, family-oriented experience. The following regulations apply:

1. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted at any time in the campgrounds.
2. Access to the campground is prohibited after 10 p.m., except for previously registered campers.
3. You must have a camping unit, establish camp and obtain a permit upon arrival. You may not buy additional permits in advance in an attempt to save a campsite for friends arriving later.
4. While pets are very important to your camping experience, it is your responsibility to leash them at all times, pick up their waste and attend to them at all times. Many campers are not pet owners and their camping experience is greatly diminished if your pet is noisy. Please consider kenneling your pet if it may disturb others.


A dove hunt and youth hunt are available.  For more information please see the hunter fact sheet


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.

  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

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