Best Hiking Trails Near Chicago: Hikes Near Me

posted in: Hiking | 0

Are you looking for a way to get some exercise, enjoy nature, and escape the hustle and bustle of city life? Look no further than the hiking trails near Chicago. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there’s something for everyone in the great outdoors. Here are some of the best hiking trails near Chicago to explore.

Click here for more National Park or National Forest hikes!
You can also view some of our most popular Gear Recommendations here!

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Water over Rocks
Water over Rocks, Photo by Adam Lusch

Located in DuPage County, Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a 2,500-acre preserve that features hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. A 9.5-mile loop trail provides a scenic view of the preserve’s waterfalls, oak woodlands, and prairies.

  • Southwest Suburbs
  • 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, IL

Deer Grove Forest Preserve

Deer Grove East
Deer Grove East, Photo by Brian Plunkett

Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Cook County is a 1,800-acre preserve with 10 miles of hiking trails. The preserve features a mix of wooded areas, wetlands, and prairies, providing a diverse ecosystem to explore.

  • Northwest Suburbs
  • 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, IL

Starved Rock State Park

French Canyon Starved Rock State Park
French Canyon Starved Rock State Park, Photo by Joseph Gage

Located 90 miles southwest of Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is a must-visit for any hiker. The park features 13 miles of trails that wind through canyons and bluffs, offering breathtaking views of the Illinois River.

  • Central Illinios
  • 1.5 hours from downtown Chicago, IL

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park, Photo by U.S. Department of the Interior

Just over the border in Indiana, Indiana Dunes National Park offers 15 miles of hiking trails along Lake Michigan. The park’s diverse landscape includes dunes, wetlands, and forests, providing a unique hiking experience.

  • Northwest Indiana
  • 1 hour from downtown Chicago, IL

Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen State Park Stairs
Matthiessen State Park Stairs, Photo by Joseph Gage

Matthiessen State Park is located in LaSalle County and features five miles of hiking trails that wind through canyons, waterfalls, and forests. The park’s unique geology provides a one-of-a-kind hiking experience.

  • Central Illinois
  • 1.5 hours from downtown Chicago, IL

Kankakee River State Park

kankakee state park camping (70)
Kankakee State Park, Photo by CarolRossFlorida

Kankakee River State Park is located in Will County and offers 11 miles of hiking trails along the Kankakee River. The park’s diverse landscape includes forests, wetlands, and sandstone bluffs.

  • Eastern Illinios
  • 1 hour from downtown Chicago, IL

Moraine Hills State Park

Moraine Hills State Park near McHenry IL
Moraine Hills State Park, Photo by Mike Steele

Moraine Hills State Park in McHenry County features over 10 miles of hiking trails through prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. The park’s main trail offers a scenic view of Lake Defiance, and there are also trails that lead to the Fox River.

  • Northeast Illinois
  • 1 hour from downtown Chicago, IL

Greene Valley Forest Preserve

Gnarly old branches
Gnarly old branches, Photo by synspectrum

Greene Valley Forest Preserve in DuPage County offers over 12 miles of hiking trails through woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. The preserve also features a lake for fishing and boating, as well as picnic areas and a dog park.

  • Western Suburbs
  • 35 minutes from downtown Chicago, IL


There’s no shortage of great hiking trails near Chicago. From state parks to forest preserves, there are options for hikers of all skill levels and interests. By preparing properly and respecting nature, you can enjoy the many benefits of hiking while exploring the beauty of the great outdoors.

Overall, hiking near Chicago offers a great opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the area and enjoy the many benefits of spending time outdoors. By taking the time to plan and prepare properly, hikers can enjoy a safe and rewarding experience on the many trails near the city.


  1. Are hiking trails near Chicago crowded?
    • It depends on the time of year and the specific trail. Popular trails may be more crowded, but there are plenty of options for less crowded hikes.
  1. What’s the best time of year to hike near Chicago?
    • Spring and fall are generally the best times for hiking, as the weather is mild and the foliage is beautiful. Summer can be hot and humid, while winter can be snowy and icy.
  1. Can I bring my dog on hiking trails near Chicago?
    • Many trails allow dogs, but it’s important to check the specific trail’s regulations before bringing your furry
  1. Are there any guided hikes available near Chicago?
    • Yes, there are several organizations that offer guided hikes near Chicago, including the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and the Sierra Club.
  1. What should I bring with me on a hiking trip near Chicago?
    • It’s important to bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather and trail conditions. A map or GPS device can also be helpful for navigating the trail.
  1. Are there any fees for hiking at state parks or forest preserves near Chicago?
    • Some parks and preserves may have a small entrance fee or parking fee. It’s important to check the specific park or preserve website for information on fees and regulations.
Featured Image: Chicago (Explored), Photo by R Boed

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: