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7 Scenic Hikes To Take In Chicago, Illinois


by Brittni Favors


Chicago, Illinois, is renowned for its stunning skyline, vibrant culture, and diverse culinary scene. However, beyond the bustling city streets lies a natural oasis waiting to be explored. The picturesque landscapes and tranquil trails of Chicago's surrounding areas offer hikers a chance to escape the urban hustle and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. From serene lakeshores to lush forests, the hiking trails in and around Chicago provide a perfect blend of adventure and serenity.

In this article, we will embark on a journey to discover seven scenic hikes that showcase the breathtaking natural beauty of Illinois. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a nature enthusiast seeking a refreshing outdoor experience, these trails offer something for everyone. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore the captivating landscapes and hidden gems that await on these scenic hikes in Chicago, Illinois.

The 606 Trail

Nestled in the heart of Chicago, The 606 Trail offers a picturesque urban escape for hikers and nature enthusiasts. This elevated trail spans 2.7 miles and winds through several vibrant neighborhoods, providing breathtaking views of the city skyline and lush greenery. Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll or an invigorating jog, The 606 Trail promises a rejuvenating experience amidst the bustling cityscape.

Lakefront Trail

Stretching for 18 miles along the glistening shores of Lake Michigan, the Lakefront Trail is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. This scenic pathway invites hikers to immerse themselves in the tranquil beauty of the lake while relishing stunning vistas of the city's iconic skyline. With its refreshing lake breeze and diverse recreational facilities, the Lakefront Trail offers an idyllic setting for a rejuvenating hike or a leisurely bike ride.

North Branch Trail

Embark on a captivating journey through the serene woodlands and meandering rivers of the North Branch Trail. Spanning over 20 miles, this enchanting trail showcases the natural splendor of the Chicago River and the surrounding lush landscapes. Hikers can revel in the harmonious blend of urban and natural scenery while exploring the trail's diverse flora and fauna, making it an ideal retreat for nature enthusiasts.

Waterfall Glen Trail

Nestled within the expansive DuPage County Forest Preserve, the Waterfall Glen Trail beckons hikers to immerse themselves in a captivating tapestry of woodlands, prairies, and shimmering lakes. Spanning 9.5 miles, this trail offers a captivating journey through diverse ecosystems, culminating in the mesmerizing sight of a cascading waterfall. With its tranquil ambiance and scenic allure, the Waterfall Glen Trail promises an unforgettable hiking experience for adventurers of all levels.

Palos Trail System

Encompassing over 50 miles of interconnected trails, the Palos Trail System is a sprawling expanse of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Hikers can traverse through verdant forests, rolling hills, and serene lakes, reveling in the captivating charm of the Midwest's natural landscapes. Whether you're seeking a challenging hike or a leisurely nature walk, the Palos Trail System offers an enchanting escape into the region's diverse flora and fauna.

Swallow Cliff Woods Trail

Venture into the captivating woodlands of the Swallow Cliff Woods Trail, where hikers can explore the undulating terrain and verdant woodlands of the Palos Preserves. This scenic trail is renowned for its iconic limestone stairs, offering a thrilling ascent to the summit and a panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes. With its tranquil ambiance and diverse wildlife, the Swallow Cliff Woods Trail provides an immersive hiking experience amidst the region's natural splendor.

Deer Grove Forest Preserve

Discover the serene beauty of the Deer Grove Forest Preserve, a sprawling natural oasis that beckons hikers to explore its enchanting woodlands, tranquil lakes, and vibrant meadows. Spanning over 9 miles, this captivating trail offers a harmonious blend of natural landscapes and diverse wildlife, providing an idyllic setting for hikers to reconnect with nature. Whether you're seeking a peaceful nature walk or an invigorating hike, the Deer Grove Forest Preserve promises a rejuvenating escape into the heart of Illinois' natural wonders.


Exploring the scenic hikes in Chicago, Illinois, offers an invigorating way to connect with nature and experience the stunning landscapes that the region has to offer. From the tranquil trails of the Chicago Lakefront Trail to the breathtaking views at Starved Rock State Park, there's a diverse range of hiking experiences awaiting outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, the abundance of natural beauty and recreational opportunities in Illinois makes it an ideal destination for hikers of all levels. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack some essentials, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the picturesque trails of Chicago and its surrounding areas.


Q: Are the hiking trails in Chicago suitable for beginners?
A: Yes, Chicago offers a variety of hiking trails suitable for beginners, including the scenic paths along the Lakefront Trail and the easy-to-navigate routes at Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

Q: What is the best time of year to go hiking in Chicago, Illinois?
A: The best time to go hiking in Chicago is during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild, and the foliage is at its most vibrant. However, summer also offers great hiking opportunities, while winter hikes can be enjoyable with proper preparation and gear.