Tired of the urban cement jungle? Here are some amazingly beautiful scenery stops you can hike, bike, skate, ski, and photograph your way towards your personal zen happiness near Chicago, Illinois.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is over 2,200 acres of large park 20 miles outside Chicago. Enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and bicycling on the four main loop trails, which range from two to eight miles long and meander through some of Waterfall Glen's most scenic areas. The park also has several special use areas including a field for launching model airplanes, an orienteering course, and an outdoor education camp. The preserve has a range of natural habitats with a high diversity of native plant and wildlife species.
Danada Forest Preserves and Herrick Lake is filled with astoundingly beautiful bicycle trails. Spend the day fishing or bicycling for hours through the gorgeous countryside.
The Cook County Forest Preserve at Quentin Road in Palatine, Illinois - about an hour from Chicago proper - is a great inline skating and bicycle trail forest preserve. Specifically, the Deer Grove Preserve is an 1800 acre property consisting of rolling upland forest interspersed with wooded ravines and wetlands. Picturesque creeks meander through this tract, feeding the two lakes located within the preserve. A must see for nature lovers.
Kendall Country Forest Preserve has multiple locations stretched throughout the region. A personal favorite is the Blackberry Trail Forest Preserve. This preserve stretches for over 1.5 miles along the Blackberry Creek. Much of this preserve has been restored to native prairie. Herons, hawks and many other birds are on property and the pedestrian bridge along the north end of the preserve is a terrific spot to get a good view of the creek and wetlands! Keep your eye out for muskrat and beaver. (Enter at Griffin Drive to access parking on Caliendo Circle.)
Gorgeous Forest Preserve in Sycamore, Illinois - an hours drive out of the city and a beautiful breath of fresh air for those sick of the cement jungle.
A wooded area with open space for events and a large native prairie on property which is an excellent hiking opportunity. Perfect for winter sports and the fishing is excellent!
Driving several hours from the downtown Chicago area out to the lovely college town of Dekalb might seem like a long haul to some. I can guarantee, however, that driving out to the Dekalb County Forest Preserves is definitely worth it. If you are the volunteering type you can come out seasonally to help collect prairie seeds, work on the river, and more. Wonderful hiking and beautiful scenes will keep you on property for most of the day.
Blackwell Forest Preserve is a gem in the western suburbs of Chicagoland. Rent canoes, fish, hike through forest and lake areas. Spending the day breathing fresh air and fishing = priceless!
Will County offers a great forest preserve for cross country skiing, biking, hiking, snow-shoeing, geo-caching, and a chance to experience nature. Simply beautiful wooded property beckons you from the city.
Fabyan Forest Preserve is a beautiful and interesting place to visit. The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden are located in the Fabyan Forest Preserve, which is 200 acres along the Fox River in Geneva. The Fabyan Forest Preserve was once part of George and Nelle Fabyans' private estate. Property and gardens are absolutely gorgeous and a lovely spot to spend a day walking in nature.