The Forest Preserves offers a variety of designated trails, all of which present their own unique challenges and, at times, may be considered dangerous. Some designated trails have paved or graded surfaces and are available for multiple uses. Other designated trails are more primitive/rustic and have a natural unpaved surface. Caution and care should be taken before and during use of all Forest Preserves trails.
In many cases, the weather and the proximity of trees to the trail can impact the user experience. All designated trails are subject to the effects of weather which can result in dangerous conditions including flooding. In addition, trees in close proximity to designated trails are subjected to many factors such as disease, insects, soil moisture, wind, fire, snow and human activities which can create tree/limb fall hazards. While the Forest Preserves seeks to identify and remove dangers posed by hazardous trees, trees without apparent defects are also subject to failure and tree hazards cannot always be identified and mitigated. Users of all designated trails are urged to be mindful of potential hazards including the fact that trees may fail at any time.
The designated primitive/rustic trails are in a more natural state than the trails with paved or graded surfaces, and are not maintained to the same extent as the paved or graded trails. Accordingly, the designated primitive/rustic trails may have uneven or irregular surfaces and may pose heightened danger or hazard to users. Due to the higher potential for danger or hazardous conditions on or along designated primitive/rustic trails, users of those trails do so at their own risk.
In addition to designated paved, graded, and primitive/rustic trails, there are many non-designated trails throughout the Forest Preserves. Such non-designated trails may occur naturally as deer trails or through human foot traffic over time. The Forest Preserves does not encourage, but generally does not prohibit, the use of non-designated trails. Users of such trails, however, should note that the Forest Preserves does not inspect or maintain non-designated trails. Accordingly, hidden and latent dangers, as well as other hazardous conditions, may be encountered on non-designated trails. Users of non-designated trails do so at their own risk and are encouraged to minimize their use of such trails.