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

a Forest Preserves staff member leading a group on an Underground Railroad history hike at Sand Ridge Nature Center
Sat, Feb 24 - Sun, Feb 25 • 10 am

Underground Railroad Walks

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Sun, Feb 25 • 10:30 am

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Sun, Feb 25 • 1:30 pm

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Wellness in the Woods logo
Wed, Feb 28 • 8 am

Mingle in the Morning: Senior Walking Club

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center building
Wed, Feb 28 • 10 am

Black History Month Story Trails 

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Feb 28 • 2 pm

2 at 2 Wednesday Prairie Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington, IL 60010
A view of the North Branch of the Chicago River from LaBagh Woods.
Sat, Mar 2 • 9 am

Walk & Talk: Women in Conservation

LaBagh Woods • Chicago, IL 60630
a mother and child exploring a sap bucket at River Trail Nature Center
Sat, Mar 2 • 10:30 am

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sat, Mar 2 • 1 pm

Wellness Walk

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Mar 2 • 1:30 pm

Live Healthy, Discover Nature! Walk

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
a mother and child exploring a sap bucket at River Trail Nature Center
Sat, Mar 2 • 1:30 pm

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
a mother and child exploring a sap bucket at River Trail Nature Center
Sun, Mar 3 • 10:30 am

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
a mother and child exploring a sap bucket at River Trail Nature Center
Sun, Mar 3 • 1:30 pm

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
a group walks through a prairie
Wed, Mar 6 • 9 am

Senior Fitness Walk

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
Wed, Mar 6 • 10 am

Women in Conservation Walk

Bemis Woods-South • Cook County, IL 60558 (near Western Springs)
Crabtree Nature Center building in Barrington Hills
Wed, Mar 6 • 2 pm

2 at 2 Wednesday Prairie Hike

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington, IL 60010
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Fri, Mar 8 • 5:30 pm

Starry Night Walk

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Sat, Mar 9 • 10 am

Women’s Walk

Thatcher Woods • River Forest, IL 60305
Wellness in the Woods logo
Sat, Mar 9 • 10 am

Wellness in the Woods: Nature as Your Stage

Beaubien Woods • Chicago, IL 60827
a mother and child exploring a sap bucket at River Trail Nature Center
Sat, Mar 9 • 10:30 am

Sap’s Rising

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062

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.