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

Rolling Knolls Pavilion
Wed, Jul 8 • 10 am

Hike the Preserves

Rolling Knolls • Elgin, IL 60120
open grassland at Orland Grassland
Thu, Jul 9 • 6 pm

Walk and Talk Hike

Orland Grassland • Cook County, IL 60467
Halloween pennant dragonfly at Wampum Lake. Photo by Jim Phillips.
Fri, Jul 10 • 10 am

Insect Discovery Hike

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Fri, Jul 10 • 7:30 pm

Firefly Sunset Walk

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Fri, Jul 10 • 8 pm

What Glows in the Dark?

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Jul 11 • 1:30 pm

Live Healthy, Discover Nature! Hike

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Wed, Jul 15 • 10 am

Hike the Preserves

Tower Road Boat Launch • Cook County, IL 60093
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Thu, Jul 16 • 11 am

Habitat Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Scientists at Site A Commemorative Boulder
Thu, Jul 16 • 4:30 pm

History Hike

Red Gate Woods • Cook County, IL 60480
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Fri, Jul 17 • 10 am

Pollinator Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
morning on the prairie at Theodore Stone Forest. Photo by Bob Callebert.
Sat, Jul 18 • 10 am

Ecology Walk

Theodore Stone Forest • Hodgkins, IL 60525
Sat, Jul 18 • 10 am

Walk and Talk Hike

Beaubien Woods • Chicago, IL 60827
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sat, Jul 18 • 10 am

Wellness in the Woods: Conversing with Nature

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Sun, Jul 19 • 1 pm

Poisons of the Prairie

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Wed, Jul 22 • 9:30 am

Explore the Prairie Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Fri, Jul 24 • 8 am

Photography Walk

Wolf Road Woods • Cook County, IL 60480
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Jul 25 • 1:30 pm

Powerwalk the Burnham Greenway

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, Jul 26 • 1:30 pm

Naturalist’s Choice Walk

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Mon, Jul 27 • 9:30 am

Family Exploration

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Tue, Jul 28 • 10 am

Introduction to Bird ID Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
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.