Best Trails of Illinois

This list represents the most popular trails in Illinois. Use this list to plan your next Illinois outdoor trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

  • #1 Rock Cut State Park

    8 Reviews

    Loves Park, IL

    Located in Loves Park, just northeast of Rockford. There are ten miles of trails at Rock Cut, seven of which are open to mountain bikers-the cross-country ski trails. The mostly dirt trails are ...
    •  10 miles
    •  Guide

    Located in Loves Park, just northeast of Rockford. There are ten miles of trails at Rock Cut, seven of which are open to ...

  • #2 I & M Canal State Trail

    5 Reviews

    Willow Springs, IL

    The entire stretch of the I & M Canal State Trail is 61 miles. It runs from Joliet to La Salle, though some parts are for hiking. The portion in Joliet and closest to Chicago is a popular after-work ...
    •  11 miles
    •  Guide

    The entire stretch of the I & M Canal State Trail is 61 miles. It runs from Joliet to La Salle, though some parts are for ...

  • #3 Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve.

    6 Reviews

    Willisville, IL

    Piney Creek Ravine’s secretive canyons hide the biggest display of prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs in Illinois. When you descend into the enchanting canyons at Piney Creek, you’ll be ...
    •  2–3 hours
    •  2.25 miles
    •  Guide

    Piney Creek Ravine’s secretive canyons hide the biggest display of prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs in Illinois. When ...

  • #4 Brookfield Zoo - Chicago

    0 Reviews

    Chicago, IL

    Located about 15 miles west of downtown Chicago in the suburb of Brookfield, the Brookfield Zoo is the largest zoo in the greater Chicago area. More than 2,500 animals of all types live within ...
    •  1 hour
    •  0.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Located about 15 miles west of downtown Chicago in the suburb of Brookfield, the Brookfield Zoo is the largest zoo in the ...

  • #5 Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail

    5 Reviews

    Rockdale, IL

    The trail begins in Rockdale and makes its way through Channahon, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, and Utica before finishing in LaSalle. Steeped in historical significance, this 110-mile ...
    •  122 miles
    •  Guide

    The trail begins in Rockdale and makes its way through Channahon, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, and Utica before finishing ...

  • #6 Busse Woods

    0 Reviews

    Arlington Heights, IL

    Busse Woods is one of eight bicycle trails in Chicago's Cook County and definitely one of the best. You'll be in and out of dark forests and open fields for most of the trail while patches of ...
    •  9.4 miles
    •  Guide

    Busse Woods is one of eight bicycle trails in Chicago's Cook County and definitely one of the best. You'll be in and out ...

  • #7 Swallow Cliff Woods

    3 Reviews

    LaGrange, IL

    Located at the Palos Forest Preserve off IL 83, 0.5 mile west of US 45. If you follow the main gravel loop, about a seven-mile trip, you'll ride along a wide, quiet trail used by joggers, hikers, ...
    •  7 miles
    •  Guide

    Located at the Palos Forest Preserve off IL 83, 0.5 mile west of US 45. If you follow the main gravel loop, about a seven-mile ...

  • #8 Illinois Prairie Path

    3 Reviews

    Maywood, IL

    The eastern trailhead is at 1st Avenue in Maywood. The Wheaton intersection point, the middle, is often considered the starting point. The trail's branches take you to Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, ...
    •  122 miles
    •  Guide

    The eastern trailhead is at 1st Avenue in Maywood. The Wheaton intersection point, the middle, is often considered the starting ...

  • #9 Deer Grove

    2 Reviews

    Palatine, IL

    Located in Palatine, off Dundee Road. If you're north of Chicago, Deer Grove is where you should go to get some mountain bike action. While there is a paved bicycle trail in the forest preserve, ...
    •  8.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Located in Palatine, off Dundee Road. If you're north of Chicago, Deer Grove is where you should go to get some mountain ...

  • #10 Chicago Lakeshore Path: South Hike

    2 Reviews

    Chicago, IL

    Enjoy stunning views of the downtown skyline as you hike along this strip of parkland that links the city and the lake. Pass Chicago landmarks such as Soldier Field, the Field Museum, and Buckingham ...
    •  2 .5 hours
    •  4.4 miles
    •  Guide

    Enjoy stunning views of the downtown skyline as you hike along this strip of parkland that links the city and the lake. Pass ...

  • #11 Illinois Prairie Path

    1 Reviews

    Lombard, IL

    For those of you who cherish the presence of trails wherever they may be, the Illinois Prairie Path must be ridden out of respect for its origins. It's among the first large-scale rails-to-trails ...
    •  20.6 miles
    •  Guide

    For those of you who cherish the presence of trails wherever they may be, the Illinois Prairie Path must be ridden out of ...

  • #12 Chicago Lakeshore Path: North Hike

    3 Reviews

    Lincolnwood, IL

    Harbors, beaches, and the lake itself serve as the backdrop for a dazzling skyline. Some sections of this path provide just a seawall with a walkway, while other parts run through wide grassy ...
    •  3–4 hours
    •  5.75 miles
    •  Guide

    Harbors, beaches, and the lake itself serve as the backdrop for a dazzling skyline. Some sections of this path provide just ...

  • #13 Chicago Lakefront

    2 Reviews

    Chicago, IL

    The Chicago lakefront walk is saved for last because it is something a little different. Unlike most of the other walks, which can easily be completed in a day or less, this excursion is a challenge ...
    •  3 days
    •  18 miles
    •  Guide

    The Chicago lakefront walk is saved for last because it is something a little different. Unlike most of the other walks, ...

  • #14 Charles Mound - Illinois Highpoint

    0 Reviews

    Scales Mound, IL

    Highpoint rank by height: 45th. From the "summit" of Charles Mound you will be able to see three neighboring states: Illinois (look down, it's where you're standing), Wisconsin (to the north) ...
    •  1.5 hours
    •  2.5 miles
    •  Guide

    Highpoint rank by height: 45th. From the "summit" of Charles Mound you will be able to see three neighboring states: Illinois ...

  • #15 Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Hike

    3 Reviews

    Elwood, IL

    Formerly the largest ammunition-production plant in the world, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is now the biggest—and perhaps the most tranquil—piece of protected land in northeastern Illinois. ...
    •  2–2 .5 hours
    •  5.2 miles
    •  Guide

    Formerly the largest ammunition-production plant in the world, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is now the biggest—and ...

  • #16 Southern Section of Robert McClory Bike Path (Green Bay Trail)

    0 Reviews

    Highland Park, IL

    In July 1997 the Green Bay Trail and the North Shore Trail were collectively renamed the Robert McClory bike Path to honor a government official, who is said to have loved a good bike ride along ...
    •  26.8 miles
    •  Guide

    In July 1997 the Green Bay Trail and the North Shore Trail were collectively renamed the Robert McClory bike Path to honor ...

  • #17 Northern Section of Robert McClory Bike Path (North Shore Path)

    1 Reviews

    North Chicago, IL

    If you ride the northern portion of the Robert McClory Bike Path, better known as the North Shore Path, you'll have the opportunity to tell people you biked to Wisconsin and back. The best ...
    •  29.5 miles
    •  Guide

    If you ride the northern portion of the Robert McClory Bike Path, better known as the North Shore Path, you'll have the opportunity ...

  • #18 Des Plaines Trail

    2 Reviews

    Des Plaines, IL

    Connected to the less developed Indian Boundary Trail, the Des Plaines Trail continues to run along the Des Plaines River. The best place to start is Big Bend Lake. Right near the expressway, ...
    •  20.4 miles
    •  Guide

    Connected to the less developed Indian Boundary Trail, the Des Plaines Trail continues to run along the Des Plaines River. ...

  • #19 Mississippi Palisades State Park

    2 Reviews

    Savanna, IL

    In a typical year, you can find 180 to 190 species of birds within the Mississippi Palisades State Park and adjacent river areas. Nearly 100 breed here. One main paved loop road through the park ...
    •  Guide

    In a typical year, you can find 180 to 190 species of birds within the Mississippi Palisades State Park and adjacent river ...

  • #20 Waterfall Glen

    1 Reviews

    Darien, IL

    At the glen, trails are 8 feet wide, white-tailed deer are plentiful, and a scattering of pine groves planted long ago by the federal government offers constant changes in color and composition. ...
    •  8.5 miles
    •  Guide

    At the glen, trails are 8 feet wide, white-tailed deer are plentiful, and a scattering of pine groves planted long ago by ...