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Trails Near Chicago

Chicago, IL: Starved Rock Trail

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.

Chicago: Swallow Cliffs

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.

Chicago: Glacial Park Conservation Area

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.

Chicago: Waterfall Glen

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.

Chicago: Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy

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.

Gary, IN: Shoreline to Ridge Hollow Loop

Loop 5.7 miles into shaded hollows and up the highest dunes on Lake Michigan’s southern shore in Indiana Dunes State Park.

Chicago: Daves Loop

Venture into mosaic of woodlands, prairies, and glacial moraines on this 4-mile trek through a local forest preserve.

Chicago: Cal-Sag Trail Run

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.

Chicago: Red Gate Woods – West Loop

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.

Chicago: Prairie Wetlands Loop

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.

Chicago: Buffalo Creek Loop

Hike or run in an undeveloped pocket of restored prairie and wooded glades on this 4.1-miler through Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.

Chicago: White River State Trail

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.

Chicago: I&M Canal State Trail

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.

Chicago, IL: Des Plaines River Trail

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.

Chicago, IL: Kankakee Nature 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.

Chicago, IL: Warren Dunes State Park Loop

Connect wooded dunes, bottomland forest, and a pristine beach on this 3.7-mile loop along Lake Michigan in Warren Dunes State Park.

Chicago, IL: Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area

Scout for waterbirds in the marshes and peer through dense tallgrass on this easygoing 5.25-mile hike through Goose Lake Prairie.

Chicago, IL: Ryerson Woods

This 4.3-mile loop follows the Des Plaines River as it winds through stunning forestland chock-full of stately hardwoods and colorful flowers.

Chicago, IL: Chain O Lakes State Park

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.

Milwaukee, WI: Vern Wolf Lake Loop

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.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Cowles Bog Loop

Link a sandy shoreline, forested dunes, and a boggy wetland on this easy-going, 4.2-mile lollipop loop in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: West Beach Loop

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.

St. Louis, MO: Kinkaid Lake

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.

Chicago, IL: Monee Reservoir

Monee Reservoir’s 2.5-mile nature trail offers a family friendly wetland wander through a suburban wildlife sanctuary (and an idyllic fishing spot).

St. Louis, MO: Sam Dale Conservation Area

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.

Chicago, IL: Volo Bog Loop

Join two easy loops through this peat-covered bog for a 3.3-mile hike that would make a botanist quake with envy.

Chicago, IL: Indiana LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area

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.

Chicago, IL: Moraine Hills State Park

Get a glimpse of glacial wetlands in northwest Illinois.

Chicago, IL: Chain O Lakes State Park (Blue Loop and Red Loop)

Explore wetlands and wooded hills in Illinois’s largest state park.

Chicago, IL: Shabbona Lake

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.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Little Calumet River

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.

Chicago, IL: Lakewood Forest Preserve

Oak forest, marshes, and small lakes highlight the rolling terrain on this 2.6-mile loop in Lakewood Forest Preserve.

Chicago, IL: Matthiessen State Park

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.

Chicago, IL: Pilcher Park

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.

Chicago, IL: Deer Grove Forest Preserve

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.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Ly-co-ki-we Trail

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.

Chicago, IL: Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

Wind through a hand-laid collection of wooded hills on an ancient glacial moraine on this 2.3-mile double loop northeast of Chicago.

Chicago, IL: Illinois Beach State Park

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.

Chicago, IL: Blackwell Forest Preserve

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.

Chicago, IL: Morton Arboretum East Side Loops

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.

Chicago, IL: Morton Arboretum Heritage Trail

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.

Chicago, IL: Waterfall Glen Loop

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.

Chicago, IL: Starved Rock – East Side

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.

Chicago, IL: Starved Rock West Side

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.

CHICAGO: Lakefront Trail

This 18-mile paved pathway is the Windy City’s ultimate quick fix.

Chicago Illinois

Chicago, IL: Starved Rock Trail

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.

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Chicago Illinois

Chicago: Swallow Cliffs

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.

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Chicago Illinois

Chicago: Waterfall Glen

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.

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Chicago Illinois

Chicago: Daves Loop

Venture into mosaic of woodlands, prairies, and glacial moraines on this 4-mile trek through a local forest preserve.

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Chicago Illinois

Chicago: Cal-Sag Trail Run

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.

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