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

#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, May 18 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Wed, May 18 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Wed, May 18 • 10 am

Story Trail

Bemis Woods-South • Cook County, IL 60558 (near Western Springs)
Wellness in the Woods logo
Wed, May 18 • 1 pm

Wellness Walks

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Thu, May 19 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Fri, May 20 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
american bullfrogs on a rock at Crabtree Nature Center
Fri, May 20 • 7:15 pm

Community Science: Frog Monitoring

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Fri, May 20 • 7:30 pm

Night Hike

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
A hooded warbler at Swallow Cliff Woods. Photo by Jim Phillips.
Sat, May 21 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, May 21 • 9 am

Nature Story Trail: “Ruby’s Birds”

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Sat, May 21 • 10 am

Walk & Talk

Eggers Grove • Chicago, IL 60617
a family riding a quad bike at Eggers Grove
Sat, May 21 • 11 am

Nature Block Party

Eggers Grove • Chicago, IL 60617
A hooded warbler at Swallow Cliff Woods. Photo by Jim Phillips.
Sun, May 22 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, May 22 • 9 am

Nature Story Trail: “Ruby’s Birds”

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
hikers at River Trail Nature Center in fall
Sun, May 22 • 10:30 am

Spring Stroll

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sun, May 22 • 1 pm

Wellness Walks

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
white trout lily flower
Sun, May 22 • 1 pm

Spring Blooms

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
hikers at River Trail Nature Center in fall
Sun, May 22 • 1:30 pm

Spring Stroll

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, May 25 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Wed, May 25 • 10 am

Walk & Talk

Columbia Woods • Willow Springs, IL 60480

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.