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

Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Aug 13 - Sun, Aug 14 • 9 am

Children’s Nature Story Trail: “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
a large bonfire
Sat, Aug 13 • 6:30 pm

Summer Bonfire

Camp Shabbona Woods • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, Aug 14 • 10:30 am

Busy Beavers

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Aug 14 • 1 pm

Secrets of the Swamp Rose Mallow

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sun, Aug 14 • 1:30 pm

Summer Wildflower Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Aug 17 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Wellness in the Woods logo
Wed, Aug 17 • 10 am

Forest Therapy Walk

Carl R. Hansen Woods • Cook County, IL 60192 (near Schaumburg)
Wed, Aug 17 • 12 pm

Nature Discovery Day

Swallow Cliff Woods-North • Cook County, IL 60464 (near Palos Park)
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Aug 20 - Sun, Aug 21 • 9 am

Children’s Nature Story Trail: “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Sat, Aug 20 • 10 am

Walk & Talk

Oak Forest Heritage Preserve-East • Oak Forest, IL 60452
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sat, Aug 20 • 10 am

Hummers Galore

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Aug 20 • 10:30 am

Parent/Child Woodland Ramble

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
A view of the North Branch of the Chicago River from LaBagh Woods.
Sat, Aug 20 • 11 am

Bach-to-School Adventure Day

LaBagh Woods • Chicago, IL 60630
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sat, Aug 20 • 1 pm

Wellness Walks

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Aug 24 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Fri, Aug 26 • 9 am

Walk & Talk

Red Gate Woods • Cook County, IL 60480 (near Willow Springs)
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Fri, Aug 26 • 7 pm

Evening at a Nature Center (Programa ofrecido en Español)

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Aug 27 - Sun, Aug 28 • 9 am

Children’s Nature Story Trail: “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
a beaver swimming in water
Cancelled Sat, Aug 27 • 10:30 am

All About Beavers

Evans Field • River Grove, IL 60171
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sat, Aug 27 • 1 pm

Wellness Walks

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305

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 a 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.