Hiking, Walking & Running

a family hiking at Trailside Museum

Looking for a relaxing walk, strenuous hike or interesting run? The Forest Preserves of Cook County has the perfect trail for you.

On this page:


Trail Information

Hikers, walkers and runners can enjoy over 100 miles of paved trails and over 200 miles of unpaved trails in the Forest Preserves.


Hiking & Walking Events

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in summer.
Wed, Sep 22 • 10 am

Composites of the Prairie

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Wed, Sep 22 • 8:30 pm

Autumn Equinox Hike & Folktale

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Thu, Sep 23 • 7 am

Early Access

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
a metal statue at Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Thu, Sep 23 • 10 am

Walk & Talk

Chicago Portage National Historic Site • Lyons, IL 60402
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Fri, Sep 24 • 7 pm

River Trail Nightlife: Night Hike

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in summer.
Sat, Sep 25 - Sun, Sep 26

Self-guided Tree Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sat, Sep 25 • 11 am

Party for the Preserves: Prairie Stroll

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Boathouse and lake at Camp Bullfrog Lake
Sat, Sep 25 • 4 pm

Party for the Preserves Celebration

Camp Bullfrog Lake • Willow Springs, IL 60480
a metal statue at Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Sun, Sep 26 • 8:30 am

History & Photography Walk

Chicago Portage National Historic Site • Lyons, IL 60402
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, Sep 26 • 11 am

Early Autumn Nature Walk

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sun, Sep 26 • 11 am

Prairie Stroll

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Sep 26 • 1 pm

Fall Wildflower Walk

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Sep 29 • 7 am

Early Access

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Wed, Sep 29 • 10 am

Walk & Talk: Women’s Walk

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Thu, Sep 30 • 10 am

Fall Fungi Identification Hike

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
All Events »

Trail Rules & Etiquette

  • Use official, marked trails. Bicycle and horse riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails. Off-trail and unofficial trail use—even by walkers and runners—damages plant and wildlife habitats.
  • Stay to the right. Ride or walk on the right side of the trail and stay single file whenever possible.
  • Pass safely. Give an audible warning (examples: ring a bike bell or say “on your left”) and slow down before passing others. Pass in single file only. Ask permission to pass equestrians.
  • Yield to other trail users. Bicycle riders must yield to other types of trail users. Walkers and runners must yield to equestrians.
  • Keep your dog on-leash. Most trails allow dogs, but they must be on leash, controlled by their owner and on the right side of the trail.
  • Make sure your ride is allowed. Check our web map to see where you can ride a horse or bike (including class 1 and 2 e-bikes). Not allowed anywhere: Class 3 e-bikes; electrically powered scooters, unicycles and hoverboards; and gas-powered vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles. People with mobility limitations are allowed to use personal mobility devices.
  • Travel at a safe speed. Bicycle and e-bike riders must travel at speeds under 15 miles per hour—or slower in busy areas or where a speed limit is posted.
  • Pay attention to trail signs. Signs tell you which trail users are allowed and alert you to hazards or busy areas ahead.  
  • Keep the trail clear. Do not block trails—move to the side of the trail before stopping.
  • Stay out of the mud. Avoid using wet trails—if you are leaving prints, you are damaging the trail.
  • Protect yourself. Helmets are recommended for all types of bicycle riders, especially for riders 14 and under.
  • Be polite and courteous. Our multi-use trails are for everyone.
  • Remember that trail use involves risk. Please review our Trail Risk Statement.

Nature Center Trails

  • Nature center trails are for walking only. Bicycles, pets, horses and cross-country skiing are not allowed.
  • Nature center trails are open only during posted nature center hours.

Equestrians

  • Walk your horse between the stable and trail.
  • Keep your horse under control—the only permitted gaits are walk, trot or slow canter. Galloping and racing are not permitted.
  • Slow to a walk or slow trot when meeting other trail users.
  • Do not hitch horses to trees or other vegetation.
  • Do not use paved trails.
  • Be humane and kind to your horse.
  • Stallions are not permitted on trails.