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

exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Jan 17 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Thu, Jan 21 - Mon, Jan 25 • 9 am

Story-Trail for Kids: Over and Under the Snow

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Jan 23 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Jan 24 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Jan 30 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Jan 31 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Mon, Feb 1 - Sat, Feb 6

Winter Tree Identification Trail

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Mon, Feb 1 - Mon, Feb 8 • 9 am

Children’s Story Trail and Craft: Groundhog Day

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Feb 6 - Sun, Feb 7 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Sat, Feb 6 • 10 am

Virtual Walk: Des Plaines River

Facebook Live from River Trail Nature Center
a hiker at Thatcher Woods with snow and fall colors
Sat, Feb 6 • 11 am

Explore: Thatcher Woods

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Feb 7 • 9:30 am

Winter Survival: Resting Reptiles (Self-Guided)

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Feb 13 - Sun, Feb 14 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Sat, Feb 13 • 5 pm

Sweetheart Night Hike

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Feb 13 • 6 pm

Sand Ridge by Candlelight

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Feb 14 • 1:30 pm

Animals in Love

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Mon, Feb 15 - Sun, Feb 21 • 9 am

Children’s Story Trail: Ruby’s Birds

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
overhead photo of men working on digging out the Skokie Lagoons in July 1933
Wed, Feb 17 • 5:30 pm

History of the Forest Preserves: Skokie Lagoons

Zoom Presentation
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Feb 20 - Sun, Feb 21 • 9 am

Winter Story Trail

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Sat, Feb 20 • 10 am

Self-guided Walk and Talk

Oak Forest Heritage Preserve-East • Oak Forest, IL 60452
All Events »

Trail Rules & Etiquette

  • Trail users are asked to be polite and courteous to fellow patrons.
  • Off-trail riding is prohibited.
  • Trail users must ride or walk on the right side of the trail.
  • Trail users must give an audible warning before passing others. Announce yourself and slow down to pass.
  • Patrons must obey all signs.
  • Speeding is not allowed.
  • Dogs must be leashed and in control on right side of trail.
  • Helmets are recommended for all riders, and required for riders 14 and under.
  • Bicyclists and horses must ride single-file.
  • Stop only on shoulder of the trail.
  • Ride at a responsible, controlled speed. No racing is allowed.
  • Trail use involves risk, please review our Trail Risk Statement.

Paved Trails

  • Trail users must stay in their own lane.
  • Bicycles must be walked down overpasses.
  • Equestrian use of paved trails is prohibited.

Unpaved Trails

  • Bicyclists and equestrians must stay on designated trails.
  • Bicyclists must yield to hikers and equestrians.
  • Hikers must yield to equestrians.
  • Trail users must ask permission to pass equestrians.
  • Trail usage is prohibited in muddy conditions.
  • Horses must be licensed.

Nature Center Trails

  • Nature Center trails are intended for walking. Bikes, pets, horses and cross-country skiing are not allowed.
  • Nature Center trails are open only during posted Nature Center hours.

Equestrians

  • Walk horses between stable and trail.
  • Slow to a walk or slow trot when meeting other riders, hikers or bicyclists.
  • Do not race horses—always keep horses under control.
  • Stallions are not permitted on trails.
  • Be humane and kind to your horse.
  • The only permitted gaits are walk, trot or slow canter. No galloping, please.
  • Horses may not be hitched to trees.