Hiking Trails Near Me in Chicago, IL
Chicago may be known for its bustling city life and iconic skyline, but for those who love the great outdoors, there are plenty of amazing hiking trails to explore. From scenic lakeside trails to rugged forest paths, there’s something for everyone in the surrounding areas of the Windy City. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best hiking trails near Chicago, so you can plan your next adventure.
- Starved Rock State Park
Located about 90 miles southwest of Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is a true natural wonder. This 2,630-acre park features 13 miles of hiking trails, each offering a unique perspective of the park’s stunning rock formations, waterfalls, and canyons. One of the most popular trails is the Starved Rock Trail, which is a moderate 3.5-mile loop that takes you to the park’s namesake rock formation. For a more challenging hike, try the LaSalle Canyon Trail, which is a 4.6-mile loop that takes you through several of the park’s stunning canyons.
- Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Located just 20 miles southwest of Chicago, the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a nature lover’s paradise. This 2,492-acre preserve features 11 miles of hiking trails, including the 9.5-mile main loop trail that takes you past several beautiful waterfalls, as well as the serene Argonne Woods. The trails here are mostly flat and easy to navigate, making it a great option for families with children or beginner hikers.
- Matthiessen State Park
Another great option for hiking near Chicago is Matthiessen State Park, located about 100 miles southwest of the city. This 1,938-acre park features five miles of hiking trails that take you through stunning canyons, rock formations, and waterfalls. One of the most popular trails is the 3.5-mile Dells Canyon Trail, which takes you through several picturesque canyons and rock formations. For a longer hike, try the 5.2-mile River Trail, which takes you along the scenic Vermilion River.
- Moraine Hills State Park
Located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Moraine Hills State Park is a beautiful nature preserve that offers some of the best hiking trails in the area. With over 10 miles of hiking trails, this park is perfect for hikers of all skill levels. The 3.5-mile Leatherleaf Bog Trail is a must-do, as it takes you through a beautiful wetland area filled with unique flora and fauna. For a longer hike, try the 7.2-mile McHenry Dam Trail, which takes you around the park’s beautiful lake.
- Indiana Dunes National Park
Located just across the border in Indiana, the Indiana Dunes National Park is a stunning nature preserve that features 15 miles of beautiful hiking trails. The park’s most popular trail is the 3.8-mile Dune Succession Trail, which takes you through several different ecosystems, including dunes, swamps, and forests. For a more challenging hike, try the 9.5-mile Cowles Bog Trail, which takes you through some of the park’s most scenic areas.
- Kettle Moraine State Forest
Located just over an hour north of Chicago, Kettle Moraine State Forest is a beautiful nature preserve that features over 100 miles of hiking trails. This park is perfect for hikers who are looking for a more rugged, challenging experience. The 5.5-mile Ice Age Trail is a must-do, as it takes you through some of the park’s most scenic areas, including beautiful glacial formations and forests. For a longer hike, try the 8.7-mile Laph