When most people think of taking a hike in Illinois, they think of some of our larger parks, like Starved Rock. But did you know that, so close to home, there are some incredible parks to walk through? Here are some gorgeous county forest preserves you should check out.
1. Springbrook County Forest Preserve
This Naperville spot has prairies and meadows. This 1,832-acre park is home to loads of birds.
2. Lake County Forest Preserve
This forest preserve is just gorgeous in autumn. Hike or bike the Des Plaines River Trail, which runs through it.
3. Timber Lake Forest Preserve
This Lake County forest preserve is known for its lake, which is part of Raven Glen. This is a great spot for anglers especially, as it has loads of bluegill, crappie and catfish.
4. Big Rock Forest Preserve
Southern Kane County is host to this beautiful forest preserve, which has a nice 2.7 mile trail through it. There is also a primitive campground for you to stay overnight.
5. Fullersburg Forest Preserve
Fullersburg Woods in Oak Brook has been open to the public since about the 1920s. There is a 1.3 mile trail that goes through lowland woods and restored prairies.
6. Mallard Lake Forest Preserve
This Hanover Park preserve has a 2.5 mile trail system, including a lovely boardwalk. Wildlife such as beavers, great blue herons, and bullfrogs abound.
7. Hammel Woods County Forest Preserve
This area is 445 acres, with forest and wetland areas. It is full of weasels and other wildlife. Enjoy gorgeous trails along the DuPage River.
8. Ned Brown Forest Preserve
This 3700 acre park in Elk Grove Village is awesome for hiking. One of the things you'll notice right away is that there are elk! It is also a popular place for people to fly their model airplanes.
9. Heron Creek Forest Preserve
Over 100 species of birds call Heron Creek home. This 242 acre Lake Zurich park also is home to 2.5 miles of trails.
10. Meacham Grove County Forest Preserve
This Bloomingdale park is 256 aces, and it has woodland groves, meadows, wetlands, and even a lake to fish in. 2.5 miles of trail lead you to a hill from which you can see Chicago's skyscrapers.