Chicago Hiking Trails to Explore in Warm Weather
Chicago isn’t really a region associated with the great outdoors. Commerce, economic growth, a bustling center of urban trade, maybe, but big cities like Chicago aren’t commonly considered outdoorsy. However, as the weather warms up, you might start feeling that itch to get out of the house and feel at one with nature. Surprisingly, Chicago hiking trails are common and plentiful, and there are tons of ways to get out of the house and enjoy a nice walk among the trees, even in the Windy City.
One of the most popular options is the Chicago Lakeshore Path, is a 10-mile stretch along Lake Michigan that sits between 31st Street and Montrose Harbor. While Chicago may not have any geological landmarks it’s popularly known for, Lakeshore Path gives passersby a great look at the city’s towering skyscrapers and city skyline, which can be just as beautiful as any mountain.
If you’re looking for something a bit more secluded and tucked away among the trees, places like Starved Rock Trail and Swallow Cliffs might be more up your alley. Starved Rock Trail spans 4.3 miles near the Illinois River, and takes hikers through landscape dotted by waterfalls, overlooks, and sandstone canyons. Swallow Cliffs, on the other hand, is a modern marvel left behind by the Ice Age, where glaciers carved 9.6 miles of ravines into the landscape.
The Moraine Hills State Park and Glacial Park Conservation Area are also both good nature preserves to check if the idea of landscape modified by ancient glaciers intrigues you. Moraine Hills even has a 48-acre lake that’s the result of a chunk of the glacier breaking away and melting. Many people go here to bird-watch and interact with other local wildlife.
There are many more trails than just that, ranging from Waterfall Glen to Tekakwitha Woods to the ruins of Joliet Iron Works, but reading about Chicago hiking trails can’t compare to actually experiencing them. The next time the sun comes out and you get that urge to explore, follow that feeling into the wilderness.