Hiking Trails Around Chicago To Hit Up This Fall
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Hiking Trails Around Chicago To Hit Up This Fall

Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails Around Chicago To Hit Up This Fall

No matter how warm it might seem outside lately, the calendar doesn’t lie – fall is here, and winter is coming.

And though there may be plenty of opportunities to get your share of sunshine from inside our concrete jungle, it doesn’t hold a candle to spending some good ol’ quality time in Illinois’ (and Indiana’s) great outdoors.

Here are the best hiking trails* to visit near Chicago.


Matthiessen State Park

1 Hour and 50 Minutes Outside Chicago

Head wayyy out of the city to LaSalle County to visit one of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. Brimming with canyons, streams, woodland creatures and yes, maybe even a short waterfall or two, this state park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon escaping the hustle and bustle of Chicago.


Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

53 Minutes Outside Chicago

Just under an hour out of the city, DuPage County boasts a huge, 2,503-acre forest preserve complete with the famous Rocky Glen waterfall, scenic bluffs and more. With over 11 miles of trail weaving through the woods, hiking here is a breeze. Plus, they also have horses.


Rollins Savanna

1 Hour Outside Chicago 

Way up north of Chicago is one of the best hiking trails around town. Though unassuming at first, Rollins Savanna offers 1,221 acres of open land, streams, bridges, and prairies for you to meander through. With a whopping 31-mile trail running right through the middle, you can definitely lose a day or two in there.


Indiana Dunes State Park

Hiking Trails

Photo Credit: 95.3MNC

1 Hour Outside Chicago

While I know us Illinoisans like to think otherwise, Indiana makes up a huge portion of the Chicago burbs. Take a day trip from the city to the dunes for a hike that ranges from the woods to the beach and with stellar views that’ll make you forget that you’re in, well, Indiana.


Starved Rock

1 Hour and 50 Minutes Outside Chicago

Take a drive out to central Illinois for what is, without question, the coolest hiking trail in the state. With massive caverns and a crazy cool waterfall, if you haven’t been yet, this fall is the perfect time to go.


Ryerson Woods

45 Minutes Outside Chicago

Another segment of the Lake County Forest Preserve, Ryerson Woods offers a small little pocket of amazing wildlife in the middle of the suburbs. Though the trail itself is pretty short, more beautiful places this close to the city are few and far between.


Northerly Island

Hiking Trails

In Chicago…..Obviously 

Okay, okay – so Northerly Island is obviously within city limits. But the once-airport-turned-public-park is one of the best city escapes around, even if it’s still technically a piece of Chicago. Spend a morning soaking up the sun in the 91 sq miles of public space and take in the sweeping skyline views, I promise you won’t regret it.



*NOTE: When I say hiking, I really mean more like “nature walking,” so don’t @ me. I don’t know if you guys know this but it turns out that Illinois is actually a pretty flat state ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Featured Image Credit: 95.3 MNC


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As an avid NPR listener and self-described Snapchat addict, Jessica Hamrick is excited to showcase her love for all things media as an Editor at UrbanMatter. Her short-yet-illustrious academic career was dedicated to finding the intersections between writing and marketing and she’s definitely found it here. In her free time, Jessica can be found hanging out with her dog Indie, watching the Food Network or commiserating with fellow, unfortunate White Sox fans.


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