The hustle and bustle of Chicago can sometimes be overwhelming. With spring right around the corner, one of the best ways to escape the madness is hitting the trails and getting your hike on! Keep reading to discover the best hiking near Chicago!
1. Waterfall Glen
A true gem of the western suburbs, Waterfall Glen is home to 11 miles of limestone and turf-covered hiking routes and beautiful scenery. Take a break at the breathtaking Sawmill Creek bluff overlook or the peaceful Rocky Glen waterfall! If you are feeling extra adventurous, try to find the hidden Canyon Creek natural waterfall.
2. Ned Brown Preserve (Busse Woods)
Discover Cook County’s 3,558-acre Busse Woods vast land and water. With almost 11 miles of hiking trails, find yourself immersed in the delightful meadows and various trees! Take advantage of a sunny day and pack a picnic basket to enjoy in one of the groves.
3. McDowell Grove
A true natural beauty nestled in the western suburb of Naperville. McDowell Grove features seven miles of trails that connect to the West Branch River Regional Trail for a long and reflective hike. Stop by in the fall to catch the beauty of the majestic colorful trees!
4. Matthiessen State Park
Located a couple hours south of downtown Chicago, this state park displays beautiful waterfalls and five miles of marked hiking trails! This state park is also home to astonishing rock formations and lush vegetation.
5. Starved Rock
After taking in the beauty of Mathiessen State Park, check out the famous Starved Rock nearby. This is one of Illinois’s most popular attractions, which is no surprise due to the parks 13 miles of trails leading to grand waterfalls and scenery!
6. Illinois Beach State Park
On the northeast shore of Lake Michigan, the Illinois Beach State Park offers six and a half miles of beach ridge shorelines to hike along. Also take advantage of the park’s multi-use nature trails while taking in the aromatic scent of pine trees surrounding the area!
7. LaBagh Woods
Another Cook County gem, LaBagh Woods resides along the north branch of the Chicago River, making it the best hiking near Chicago! Make sure to also hike along the trails north of the woods where old railroad tracks have been transformed into a gravel trail.
8. Chicago Lakefront Trail
For those who would rather not venture too far from the city, take a scenic hike along the Chicago Lakefront Trail. Take in 18 miles of beautiful skyscraper views and feel the breeze of Lake Michigan. When it is time to take a break, make sure to stop at one of the many attractions along the trail, including Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy pier, and Grant Park!
9. Indiana Dunes State Park
Not too far east over the border, take a gander at the Indiana Dunes State Park! Large sand dunes present the opportunity for a rigorous workout along with more than three miles of beachfront to the beautiful blue south Lake Michigan shore. The perfect opportunity to dip your toes in the water and cool off from a tough hike!
10. Ryerson Woods
A Lake County preserve featuring over 6 and a half miles of winding hiking trails and thick woodland. Ryerson Woods trails lead visitors past historical buildings and serene floodplains and flatwoods.
Do you agree that this is some of the best hiking near Chicago? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Kelly is an Illinois State University grad with a degree in Public Relations. She is currently taking Chicago by storm and learning her way around adulting!