This beautiful 4.3-mile loop adjacent to the Illinois River adds welcome relief–waterfalls, sculpted sandstone canyons, and impressive overlooks–to the usually pancake-flat landscape.
Enjoy the views and solitude of this 9.6 mile out-and-back trek through wind and water-scoured ravines to glacier-carved moraines in southeast Chicago.
This 4.1-mile hike exposes the wilder side of northern Illinois, an untouched 3,000-acre tract filled with wildlife and a gravel cone formed by an ancient stream.
This preserve offers plenty of big city escape. Shady forests, gentle waterfalls, and a lofty vista over the Des Plaines River are just a few stops along this 10.1-mile multi-use loop.
Take a leisurely, 3.6-mile stroll to the more remote northern shore of Wisconsin’s Lake Geneva, and discover a quiet, intimate, photogenic retreat.
Loop 5.7 miles into shaded hollows and up the highest dunes on Lake Michigan’s southern shore in Indiana Dunes State Park.
Venture into mosaic of woodlands, prairies, and glacial moraines on this 4-mile trek through a local forest preserve.
Find rugged trails twisting-and-turning through the largest roadless tract within 25 miles of downtown Chicago on this 5.6-miler in the wind and water-scoured ravines of Cook County Forest Preserve’s Swallow Cliffs Woods.
Escape the Windy City on this easy 5.9-mile hike through a beautiful hardwood forest into ravines carved by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago.
Escape the land of skyscrapers on this 3.6-mile, fi gure-8 circuit where wildlife-rich wetlands mix with undulating meadows and forested tracts.
Hike or run in an undeveloped pocket of restored prairie and wooded glades on this 4.1-miler through Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.
Grab your boots or hop on your bike to hit one of the Dairyland’s newer trails on this 11.8-mile out-and-back along an old railroad trestle.
Hike 5.9 miles along the most scenic section of the Illinois and Michigan Canal to the convergence of the Illinois and Kankakee Rivers. Heron, egrets and turtles are common.
This 7.3-mile ramble along a serene stream, by old settler ruins, and thorough big woods illustrates why this pocket park is considered one of the most beautiful in Illinois.
On this 6.8-mile loop, you’ll find reclaimed prairies, sacred Indian grounds, and scenic overlooks of the lakes and rivers surrounding St. Louis.
Explore a handful of landscapes—prairie, wetlands, lakes—along a winding river on this 9.8-mile out-and- back leg of the Des Plaines River Trail.
Explore wooded bluffs and a dramatic limestone canyon on the way to a waterfall on this 4.8-mile riverside hike in Kankakee River State Park.
Connect wooded dunes, bottomland forest, and a pristine beach on this 3.7-mile loop along Lake Michigan in Warren Dunes State Park.
Scope for wildlife on bluffs high above the Illinois River on this easy 3-mile loop hike.
Scout for waterbirds in the marshes and peer through dense tallgrass on this easygoing 5.25-mile hike through Goose Lake Prairie.
This 4.3-mile loop follows the Des Plaines River as it winds through stunning forestland chock-full of stately hardwoods and colorful flowers.
Hike rolling prairies, expansive wetlands, and a peaceful stretch of the Fox River on this easy 5.6-mile hike in Chain O Lakes State Park.
Whet your feet–and your appetite for nature–on this moderate 3.6-mile loop in Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest with two creek fords, year-round wildflowers and soaring fern-covered cliffs.
Bring binocs on this 3.9-mile loop in the Richard Bong State Recreation Area; open grassland invites long views of Vern Wolf Lake, its shoreline, and flying falcons.
Link a sandy shoreline, forested dunes, and a boggy wetland on this easy-going, 4.2-mile lollipop loop in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
This sandy, 3.2-mile stroll in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore climbs dunes, skirts an ancient marsh, and ends within a stone-skipping distance of Lake Michigan’s coastline.
Traversing trickling falls, spongy boulders, and finger coves along Kinkaid Lake’s western shore, this 9.2-mile out-and-back ends high above the lake—and leaves you dry.
Monee Reservoir’s 2.5-mile nature trail offers a family friendly wetland wander through a suburban wildlife sanctuary (and an idyllic fishing spot).
An easy, family-friendly dayhike, this 2.8-mile loop tours the mature forests and wildlife-festooned shores of the Sam Dale Lake Conservation Area.
This out-of-the-way 967-acre park boasts the highest piece of land between St. Louis and Cincinnati and is packed with wooded ravines and seasonal treasures.
This Shawnee National Forest hike loops 2.8 miles and drops 350 feet through a water-carved slot into Illinois’ Little Grand Canyon. Sure footing and a sense of adventure required.
Join two easy loops through this peat-covered bog for a 3.3-mile hike that would make a botanist quake with envy.
Geese, mallard–and occasional Chicagoland escapees–frequent the LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area where this 5.2-mile loop hints at the history of the world’s largest marsh.
Follow the muddy waters of Clear Creek and the footprints of resident albino deer on this 2-miler in western Illinois’ Sangchris Lake State Park.
An exposed fault above the Illinois River and 30-mile views of St. Louis make this 3.5-mile loop in Illinois’ largest state park a worthwhile escape from the Gateway City.
Get a glimpse of glacial wetlands in northwest Illinois.
Explore wetlands and wooded hills in Illinois’s largest state park.
Birders take note: The shallow depths of Horseshoe Lake and the grain-rich fields of Walkers Island attract an unusually wide range of feathered fliers to this 3.8-mile loop just outside St. Louis.
Explore a 59-acre lake and get a bird’s-eye view of a buzzing wetland on this 2.9-mile hike through an historic state park in central Illinois.
Take a break from baiting hooks and hit the trail for this 4.8-mile loop around Shabbona Lake. You’re guaranteed to catch lake views, dense woodland silence, and wetland vistas.
This 3.4-miler tours historic sites in one of Indiana’s first settlements and crosses the Little Calumet River floodplain in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Oak forest, marshes, and small lakes highlight the rolling terrain on this 2.6-mile loop in Lakewood Forest Preserve.
A lush, green garden of waterfalls and giant pools awaits on the dells of Matthiessen State Park; this route tacks on a bluff-top viewpoint for 5.8-miles of prime Illinois day-hiking.
Look for the hidden surprises–wildflowers, turtles, a mineral-rich well, and even a historic greenhouse–on this family-friendly, 3.3-mile loop around Pilcher Park.
Follow this 3-miler through glacial moraine and across a man-made dam for panoramic views of Johnson Lake, a snack-bar pit stop, and a sampling of this state recreation area’s year-round attractions.
Stop for a bluff-top look at the Sangamon River on this 4.1-miler that loops through lush forests in a designated National Natural Landmark—and one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois.
Loop past 230-million-year-old sandstone and into a moss-coated canyon on this 4.6-miler that follows a low-traffic trail in Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area.
Link a network of hiking trails in Deer Grove Forest Preserve for a 9.3-mile meadow- and ravine-touring escape from the Windy City.
Explore deep woods, ancient dune ridges, and wetland thickets on sandy trail that loops 9.7 miles through the center of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Wind through a hand-laid collection of wooded hills on an ancient glacial moraine on this 2.3-mile double loop northeast of Chicago.
Explore wetlands and the shores of Lake Michigan at the only hike-in beach in the Chicagoland area on this easy 2.3-mile loop through the southern side of Illinois Beach State Park.
Link a DuPage county high point, oak and hickory woodlands, a marshy pit-stop for migrating birds, and the hiding spot for a woolly mammoth on this 6.1-miler west of Chicago.
Link Morton Arboretum’s gently rolling east side loops for a 3.4-mile tour cruising ornamental rhododendrons, an autumn rainbow of beech, and 500 acres of oak and sugar maple woodlands–a veritable smorgasbord for tree lovers.
Stroll native woodlands on this 1.6-miler through the north side of Morton Arboretum, a living museum that’s home to more than 3,400 species of trees and plants.
Cruise ponds, marshes, a scenic view of the Des Plaines River, and a picnic-perfect waterfall on this rolling 10-mile loop through Chicago’s Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.
Dip into 7 water-carved canyons on this 7.3-mile lollipop loop through the quieter side Starved Rock State Park. Soaring cascades (and a steep, stair-step climb) will take your breath away.
Wind, twist, bob and weave. This 2.7-mile loop on the west side of Starved Rock State Park hits some of the state’s most dramatic sandstone canyons, rocky cliffs, and wooded bluffs—all alongside the mighty Illinois River.
This 18-mile paved pathway is the Windy City’s ultimate quick fix.
Cross deep, vine-laced forests to bluff-top views over rivers and prairie.
See across the Prairie State from 320-million-year-old sandstone outcrops.
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