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
Sat, Feb 1 • 1:30 pm

Live Healthy, Discover Nature! Hike

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sat, Feb 1 • 1:30 pm

Prairie Wolf Party

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
a person cross-country skiing at Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
Sat, Feb 8 • 9 am

Ski the White Winter Wave

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
a trail covered in snow and lined with candles at night at trees and ground covered with snow at River Trail Nature Center
Sat, Feb 8 • 6 pm

Sweetheart Night Hike

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
a family snowshoeing at trees and ground covered with snow at River Trail Nature Center
Sun, Feb 9

Winter Walks

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Fri, Feb 14 • 6:30 pm

Valentine’s Day Night Hike

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Fri, Feb 14 • 7 pm

Date Night in the Starlight

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
trees and ground covered with snow at River Trail Nature Center
Sat, Feb 15 • 10 am

Hike the Preserves: Fitness Hike

Sauk Trail Woods-Central • South Chicago Heights, IL 60411
people hiking in fall
Sat, Feb 15 • 10 am

Hike the Preserves: Walk & Talk Hike

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
a hiker at Thatcher Woods with snow and fall colors
Sat, Feb 15 • 1 pm

Warm Hearts, Cold Noses Hike

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sat, Feb 15 • 1:30 pm

Wild Winter Warmup

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sun, Feb 16 • 10 am

Yoga in the Woods

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Sun, Feb 16 • 1:30 pm

In Search of the Snow Flea

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
a Forest Preserves staff member leading a group on an Underground Railroad history hike at Sand Ridge Nature Center
Sat, Feb 22 • 11 am

Black History Month: Underground Railroad Hikes

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, Feb 23 • 1 pm

The Des Plaines River and the Underground Railroad

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
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.