A Chicago Hiking Overview (and when I say hiking I probably really mean nature walking)

An added bonus about going on a hike on the trails around the Chicago metro area is seeing scores of hikers using professional grade hiking sticks:

Now, I’m not sure how much you guys know about Chicago, but it’s in the Midwest and for miles and miles and miles there’s nothing but FLAT terrain. It’s the prairie. There are zero mountains- maybe the occasional hill here and there, but nothing you wouldn’t encounter walking down the street to catch the bus or a cup of coffee. So, why one would feel the need to use these ridiculous things to go on what is essentially just a walk in the well-manicured forest trails of Chicago is beyond me. Do yourself a favor: if you decide to go hiking in Illinois, leave the sticks at home, or I will laugh at you. Maybe even to your face.

Now, on with the show!

I love to get out and walk or run in the trails that surround Chicago, and I’m not talking about the lake shore path. I’m talking about the little preserves scattered about the Chicago metropolitan area, and there are plenty. I like to take the pup there too, so she can get exposed to all the natural wonders of our great state. Especially before it’s too cold for her delicate hide.

Some of the most serene places to go hiking, and bring your baby puppy with you are listed below.

1. Swallow Cliff– This one is very accessible from the city and has very well kept trails, as well as some popular stairs that people climb as an added challenge.

Cooling off by the stream!
Cooling off by the stream!

2. Red Gate Woods– a nice hike, but bonus points for the added creepiness stemming from its history as a nuclear reactor lab and burial site. Shudder.

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3. Spears Woods– Very close to Red Gate, but excellent for leaf-peeping. Last time we were there, which was right before Halloween, a Santa Claus on horseback gave us two full sized candy bars and a Milkbone. Illinois residents are just the friendliest!

On the trail
On the trail
Leaf peeping!
Leaf peeping!
With her hiking pack.
With her hiking pack.

4. Prairie Wolf Slough– For all you real dog lovers, this one is an off-leash park. Skye dove head first into the lake with her buddies and they had a blast.

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5. Salt Creek Forest Preserve–  This place has a ton of trails, and also a quaint little mill if you are into quaint.

My husband by the mill.
My husband by the mill.
The woodsy trails
The woodsy trails

As our hiking adventures develop, hopefully this list will continue to grow. Stay tuned, all.

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