Hiking Trails In Illinois

Chicago may be one of the U.S.'s major hubs, but it's also home to some of the Midwest's most hiker friendly trails. If you're a diehard nature lover, don't miss these hot treks!

STARVED ROCK NATIONAL PARK

Box 116

Utica, IL 60441

(815)667-4726

Starved Rock is on everyone's list of all-time favorite day hikes! With bluff after bluff, steep inclines and descents, and a view that will give you a new perspective of Chicago, Starved Rock National Park is a hike you won't soon forget. There are 13 miles of trails here, 18 eye popping canyons and many scenic outlooks perfect for moderate to experienced hikers.

WATERFALL GLEN FOREST PRESERVE

Darien, IL

(630)933-7200

There are some great walks for all skill levels at Waterfall Glen. From clean-cut grass trails to narrow footpaths and 8-foot wide multi-use trails, this is a preserve build around the Argonne National Laboratory, one of the largest federally funded scientific research facilities for physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences. You'll hardly notice that while hiking, though. The scenery is splendid and runs through pines, wetlands, meadows and prairies.

VETERAN ACRES PARK AND STERNE'S WOODS

Crystal Lake, IL

(815)459-0680

This is one of Chicago's best kept secrets! Located on the northern section of Crystal Lake, approximately 45-miles northwest of Chicago, Veteran Acres offers a great backwoods hike over a network of trails that run wild through pine forests, open vistas and over rolling hills. Perfect for any skill level.



FULLERSBURG WOODS

Forest Preserve District

185 Spring Avenue

Glen Ellyn, IL 60138

Fullersburg Woods was opened to the public in 1920, and the 221-acres within the park are a testament to preserving natural beauty. With 5 separate trails, mostly paved, you'll get a nice workout here and learn some midwestern history at the same time. All trails are less than 2-miles long and run a variety of directions through lowland woods, restored prairies, water crossings and more. This is a good walk to share with the family.

DANADA

(630)933-7200

Nestled into the bustling suburb of Wheaton, Illinois, the Danada Forest Preserve is a peaceful respite from the daily grind. With 3-miles of multi-purpose trails, this is a scenic, slow walk that caters to beginners and nature lovers. Most trails are made of crushed limestone and are easily walkable.

GREENE VALLEY

Fullersburg Woods Environmental Education Center

Oak Brook, IL

(630)850-8110

The Greene Valley Forest Preserve covers 1,425-acres and is home to 7-miles of marked multi-purpose trails. Different looped trails range from easily walkable 1-mile jaunts to more challenging 5.5-mile hikes.

MESSENGER WOODS PRESERVE

This peaceful Preserve is a secluded, 947-acre state park noted for beautiful spring wildflowers and rare bird species. A nature trail crosses a bridge, travels a ridge and overlooks a ravine. Water, picnic tables, shelters and restrooms are all available in this family friendly Preserve. Trails are easy to moderate, and walkable by most any skill level.

INDIAN BOUNDARY

Indian Boundary Division Headquarters

8800 West Belmont Ave.

Chicago, IL

(773)625-0606

There are 12 miles of moderately difficult, dirt packed trails in this suburban getaway. Conveniently located near O'Hare airport, this semi-wooded spot on the DesPlaines River is a nice walk for the whole family. You will literally follow the river on this looped trail. Close to major roadways and a National airport however, true nature lovers may be less than enthusiastic with the less than "natural" feel.

SERIOUS HIKERS ONLY

RIVER-TO-RIVER TRAIL

River to River Trail Society

(618)252-6789

This is a unique hike that bridges together the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and extends some 160-miles. With a wealth of ecological riches that will thrill most outdoorspeople, the River-to-River Trail is passable year-round. Terrain is moderate to difficult with a few pretty rugged uphill climbs. True hikers complete the entire trail in 14-days, covering about 1-mile-per-hour. Trail experts suggest a compass and adequate water supply. This trail begins in southern Illinois and takes you through the Shawnee National Forest and Devil's Backbone Park, crossing some steep, rocky bluffs along the way.

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