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6 Best Places to Hike Near Chicago

By Kelly Bauer | April 14, 2016 5:08pm | Updated on April 15, 2016 4:50pm

DOWNTOWN — Hey, the weather's supposed to be sunny and 60s this weekend! The city's parks and nature preserves can help you get away from Chicago without really leaving it.

Whether you're looking for paved paths or natural trails, a post-hike fishing spot or a place where you can bring your pooch, Chicago's got it all. Here are the best places to hike in and around the city this spring or summer:

Dan Ryan Woods

87th and Western

The 257-acre Dan Ryan Woods have it all: You can take a stroll on the partially paved Major Taylor Trail, which connects to Whistler Woods. After that, grab lunch in one of the picnic groves, go bird watching or learn about the native plants that grow in the park.

Stop by in the winter and you can zoom down a specialized sledding hill, too.

"Yep, you wouldn't know it as a visitor, but this place has brought GENERATIONS of joy to hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans whom know just how special this part of the city is/was to their childhood," Richard R. wrote on Yelp. 


Palmisano Park

2700 S. Halsted St.

Formerly known as Stearns Quarry, Palmisano Park has hills lined with trails, an athletic field and a running track.

If you're looking for a real challenge, try to get to highest point in the 27-acre park, dubbed "Mount Bridgeport." You'll get a perfect view of the city's skyline.

"Graded hills, awesome quarry, picturesque view of the city skyline," said Jeremy L. on Yelp. "If you enjoy jogging, come here."

If Mount Bridgeport is too high for you, check out the park's more relaxing features, like a fishing pond and wetlands.


Sauganash Trail

4400 W. Devon

Yelp/Nin M.

The Sauganash Trail features a 1-mile paved pathway lined by trees. While it's used by roller bladers, bicyclists and joggers, it's a favorite for those walking their dogs.

"Great trail to walk the pup in," said Michelle M. on Yelp. "... I do enjoy the fresh air and other friendly dog walkers."

You can also stop off in Sauganash Park, 5861 N. Kostner Ave.


West Ridge Nature Preserve

5801 N. Western Ave.

DNAinfo/Linze Rice

The 21-acre West Ridge Nature Preserve, which opened last fall, features paved trails, a pond (complete with fishing stations) and educational signs to help you spot native plants.

"Beautiful addition to the neighborhood," Kimberly O. wrote on Yelp. "The preserve is deceivingly expansive with winding, varying paths for runners and forks for those looking for a peaceful view of the water."


Eggers Grove

11200 S. Avenue E

Yelp/Robb T.

Eggers Grove has 241 acres of native plants, wet woodlands and picnic groves.

A natural-surface trail that's 3/4 of a mile long winds through the grove, or you can ride a bike along the Burnham Greenway, a paved trail that runs outside the park. You can take the trail from a parking area to a spot near Wolf Lake or take another route to go by the park's marsh.

"A lovely gem on the southeast side of Chicago, I've seen coyotes and deer and all kinds of birds, including a scarlet tanager, black-crowned night herons and lots of hummingbirds when the jewelweed blooms," Robb T. said on Yelp. "It's a magical place!"


Powderhorn Lake

13800 S. Brainerd Ave.

DNAinfo/Justin Breen

You can follow a footpath along the western shore of Powderhorn Lake or explore the 192 acres of woodland, prairie and wetlands found throughout the nature preserve.

The preserve is home to some of the city's rarest animals and plants, from nesting osprey to eastern prickly pear cacti.

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