Awesome Places to Hike in Chicagoland

Ever get annoyed when people tell you to “take a hike?” Well, don’t be! Because hiking is one of the absolute BEST family friendly activities to not only help you work up a sweat, but also explore the world around you no matter the weather.  Looking to branch out of your neighborhood paths? Then check out these awesome places to hike in Chicagoland.

The Morton Arboretum

We love visiting the Morton Arboretum any time of year, but especially during the Spring and Fall because you can enjoy the change of seasons while hiking through the vast grounds. Don’t forget to spend time in the children’s garden as well.

Independence Grove

There are tons of paved tails to choose from at the stunning Independence Grove. If you are a family that loves biking, be sure to put Independence Grove on your “must do” list and end your day cooling off at the beach.

The Nature Boardwalk

Located right outside the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Nature Boardwalk is popular for photos and enjoying one of the most stunning views of Chicago. You can check out native plants and animals along the waterway, as well as the beautiful statues and architecture spread throughout Lincoln Park.

Naperville Riverwalk

There is so much to see and explore throughout the Naperville Riverwalk. We love the bridges, water features, art sculptures…and there are perfect spots throughout the Riverwalk to enjoy a picnic.

Chicago Botanic Gardens

There are tons of beautiful floral displays to enjoy at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Our favorites? The waterfall garden and the vast Japanese garden—it is such a unique display and world within our traditional Midwestern landscape. There is also a long trail that loops around the Chicago Botanic Gardens if you are looking for a longer journey.

The Brookfield Zoo

Obviously the animals are the main attraction at the Brookfield Zoo, but don’t forget about the hidden path located outside of the Bear exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo. Follow the signs and expect for your walk to take about 30 minutes.

The 606

Be sure to check out the 606, an expansive paved trail that goes through multiple Chicago neighborhoods. It is a great place to take a long and scenic stroller or bike ride. We love the “hop on/hop off” nature of the 606, stopping at parks and favorite restaurants along the path.

Starved Rock

The hands down best hiking experience in Chicagoland can be found at Starved Rock. There are tons of trails for all different types of hikers. We love visiting the waterfalls all times of year and look forward to booking a stay at their rustic cottages.

Before you set out on any hike, don’t forget to pack safe sunscreen and bug spray, and pack some rain gear just in case.

Where are your favorite places to hike in Chicagoland? Share them in the comments so we can explore them, too!

Happy Hiking!
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  1. Jenn says

    Wow, i had no idea there was so much to do for the whole fmaily. This sounds like a trip I could plan with my granddaughters. Not too far of a drive from us too. Lot’s of fun. Love your photo!

  2. Nickida says

    This is a great post with the weather finally warming up, getting outdoors is the perfect thing to do. Plus you can’t beat free or really cheap anyway. Great hiking spots.

  3. Katie says

    Not having ever been to Chicago, I never would have pictured hiking opportunities! That’s what comes of living in Florida, I suppose. Someday I will get up that way and check out these neat places.

  4. Jennifer Tammy says

    Oh I am saving this list! We’ve only been to the Botanic Gardens & Brookfield Zoo but they were amazing. I actually can’t wait to go back now that I’m seeing this <3

  5. rochkirstin says

    Chicago Botanic Gardens seems like a great place for hiking indeed. I like seeing greens and absorbing all the fresh air while taking long walks. Starved Rock’s waterfalls must also be an awesome sight!

  6. Cassie says

    I agree that hiking is a great family activity, but I wouldn’t think there were so many great places to do it in the Chicago area. You have really comprised a good, fun list of places to take the whole family on a great bonding experience (say nothing of the health aspects, lol). If I had to choose one place from your list, it would probably be the Lincoln Park Zoo for all the animals and the great views!

  7. Wandering Carol says

    These all sound like so much fun. It’s really the time of year to get up and out. I remember visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo when I was in Chicago but did not know about the Nature Boardwalk, and certainly didn’t know about the hidden walk outside the Bear exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo. How perfect.

    • Amanda says

      My boys love the zoo trails because they can convince me to buy them a treat before hand and enjoy it will relaxing in the stroller and Mommy gets some great exercise.

  8. Bites for Babies says

    I was very saddened to hear about how bad the crime has become in Chicago. A friend of mine lives there and mentioned this before my husband were going to plan a trip there. We didn’t up going…I absolutely LOVE that city and can’t wait to go back.

    • Amanda says

      I agree, the violence is a major issue. But we don’t let that take away from loving and exploring our city. It does remind us to contribute to our community and help find ways to make it a safer place for everyone.

  9. Becca Wilson says

    All of these locations seem great! We love to get outdoors and if we ever make our way to this area, we will know where to go. We have been to lots of hiking places in Virginia and North Carolina.

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