Explore artwork, see the scenic Lake Michigan up close, or take a hike in the woods, all without leaving the Chicago area. Whether you want a route for a quick walk after work or are looking for more of a ramble on a sunny afternoon, the area boasts a wide range of paths that will appeal to just about everyone. Just remember to stick to the paths when you walk. Lace up your favorite pair of walking shoes and get ready to hit the trails with these walking paths in the Chicago area.
Bloomingdale Trail between Ashland and Ridgeway Avenues
Make your way through the Chicago neighborhoods of Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park by taking a stroll along The 606. The newest trail on our list — which opened in June — is about three miles long and features plenty of access points so you can explore as much of the trail as you'd like. The 606 also boasts artwork along the path, and is accessible by bike, too. You can park your car in a neighborhood near the trail, or take public transportation. Make some time to explore the neighborhoods along the way, and maybe get a bite to eat, too.
Chicago Lakefront Trail
Stretching about 18 miles along the coast of Lake Michigan, the Chicago Lakefront Trail offers walkers, joggers and cyclists a breathtaking view of the city. Watch as the waves crash along the shore, pause for a selfie or two with the skyline in the background, and enjoy some serious exercise on the trail. The trail takes you in and out of a number of neighborhoods, giving you a chance to explore different parts of the city. Parking is available near the trail, so you can walk as much as you'd like at a time.
Forest Preserves of Cook County
Quentin and Dundee Roads
Palatine, IL 60074
Located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Deer Grove offers plenty of opportunities for some serious mileage. The preserve has four miles of paved trails and 10 miles of unpaved trails, allowing walkers and runners to find just the right terrain. Deer Grove also has plenty of scenery, as well as a number of animals that call the preserve home. Parking lots are available at the preserve, and bikes and mountain bikes are also permitted.
Related: Best Family Hikes Near Chicago
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
McCormick Blvd. between Dempster St. and Touhy Ave.
Skokie, IL 60076
Sure, forest preserves have plenty of trees and the lakefront has people-watching, but Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park near the Chicago River has plenty of art. Both art fans and those want a change of scenery will enjoy walking along the park's trail, which covers about two miles. With outdoor sculptures spread among four sections, you can explore and walk as much or as little of the trail as you like. Admission to the park is free, and parking is available in lots. Keep in mind, the park's trail crosses several major intersections.
5531 S. Martin Luther King Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60637
If you're up for a day of exploring, then consider checking out Washington Park in Chicago when planning your next walk. The historic park boasts plenty of paths for walking and running, and is situated on more than 350 acres. You can explore art, nature and more on your stroll, including Taft's famed "Fountain of Time." If you feel like adding more mileage to your stroll, then consider checking out the campus of the University of Chicago, located near the park.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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