The 25 best places for hiking near Chicago
Written by Taylor Walton

The 25 best places for hiking near Chicago

Looking for gorgeous spots to go hiking near Chicago? Try these urban adventures, state parks and riverside trails.

Looking for an outdoorsy experience that's a little more adventurous than walking through your local Chicago park? Thankfully, you don't need to go far to trek through nature, because there's no shortage of great spots for hiking near Chicago. Cross state lines to visit the gorgeous Indiana Dunes along Lake Michigan, explore the ruins of a steel mill in Joliet or tackle the sprawling 30-mile Ice Age Trail at Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin. Plus, some of these paths double as great Chicago bike trails—you can even make a weekend of it and do a little camping. If you're ready for a temporary escape from the city, hit the trails at some of the best places for hiking near Chicago.

Devil's Lake State Park

If you’re able and willing to make the journey up north to Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park is a great option for stunning views and paths suitable for all levels of hikers. You’ll marvel at rock formations that were carved by glaciers during the Ice Age while making your way through over 29 miles of trails. Traverse the East Bluff Trail or the Balanced Rock Trail to be rewarded with some truly spectacular sights.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

West of the city in southern DuPage County, this nearly 2,500-acre preserve surrounding Argonne National Labs has 11 miles of mapped trails shared by hikers, cyclists, horseback riders and, when weather permits, cross-country skiers. The area itself is named after former Forest Preserve District president Seymour Waterfall (yes, that was his name), not the small, man-made cascade within it.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

This 19,000-acre National Forest Service prairie south of Joliet attracted new attention in 2015 with the reintroduction of bison to the land, with visitor numbers rising for the chance to see the herd in its natural habitat. Midewin has about 22 miles of mixed-use trails shared by hikers, cyclists and horseback riders, and another 12 for hikers only. Keep an eye out for the decomissioned bunkers where the U.S. Army once stored ammunition.

Written by

Taylor Walton

Taylor Walton

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