Explore the most popular birding trails in Illinois with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

nature trips
10 hours ago

Love coming out here at all times of the year. Beautiful place.

First time on this trail and it did not disappoint. Wow, so much to look at. We went right after a few days of rain and while it was slick, still very manageable if you take your time and watch your steps. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete with a few breaks to admire everything around us. definitely recommend good waterproof shoes.

This is a very flat trail along the river and to the dam. After the snow melts there are sections that are pretty muddy. The dam is okay, but not a great scenic view. The asphalt trail over it is used by runners and cyclists. I used the steps for a lunch stop. This was a great practice loop for a hike with my heavy backpack. I can do loops back to the parking lot - to add or subtract gear. My dog, a cavalier King Charles was covered in mud from her chest down - she’s low to the ground. Lol. Spa time for miss Sadie. Beautiful day outside.

best nature trail I've found near Chicago

Beautiful hike with awesome rock formations. We hiked this trail on a rainy day and the water sheds off the trail well. The trail is easy unless you want to venture into the rock formations which provide ample opportunity for climbing.

2 days ago

It is a very good Trail to hike, leaf covered at this time of year, very little up and downs, easy trail and spoke to Trail Naturalist, she was knowledgeable and knows the trail and surroundings very well. Enjoyed the 3.2 mile hike in and around. Will be back!

2 days ago

Love this trail always a good stress reliever. Last did this trail with my 3 year old grand daughter and son we had a great time

Excellent bluffage and unique rock formations for miles! Multiple nice waterfalls (all wet weather).

fun trail

great park for running and family activities

One of my favorite forest preserves in Lake County. Quiet and very peaceful. Great place to relax and have a casual morning/afternoon on Lake Michigan

Cave of the Winds?? I hike at Starved Rock State Park more than 50 times a year. None of us refer to any trail or formation in this place as Cave of the Winds.

Article on the hike from my Blog


This is a very nice trail for what it is. It is well maintained and well marked. It is popular and receives a lot of use by the local community. It passes through both prairie and woodland. It seems to be designed as a walking or running trail, so it is not rugged with only small elevation changes. It is a pleasant afternoon walk with the family or pets or a nice run on your own. The available facilities are great, there are lots of things to do nearby both in the preserve itself and in the community and it is very accessible.

nature trips
19 days ago

amazing trails. small creek. very woodsy and bike friendly.

The trails are poorly marked, and as mentioned in other reviews the on-going sound of gunshots was really disconcerting, and distracting while walking. I also wish there was more information regarding the history of the buffalo that are kept there and how they're being taken care of? They just seemed kinda lonely.

Very enjoyable wide trail. Went in the fall with leaves on the trees in full color.

Nice hike through the Forest Preserve. Trail is well-marked. Users are considerate. Watching people train on the Swallowtail Steps is seriously inspiring.

22 days ago

Breathtakingly beautiful, but it's easy to loose the trail. Had to double back several times to get back on track. Definitely worth checking out, but take care not to get lost in a bad way.

trail running
22 days ago

definitely a good trail to run or walk on.

22 days ago

Decided to challenge ourselves to go for this 9ish miles trail during Thanksgiving weekend. Finished up around 3 and half hours. Enjoyed the trail very much, beautiful view, took bunches of photos on the way, though the trail is quite muddy after the rain.

23 days ago

Decent moderate to difficult trail. Used the east branch of the trail and hiking all the way to the cross and back. The last 1/4 mile leading up the the knob was difficult, very steep. The trail is not blazed well and the trail head at the cross is obscured by a good 30’ of brush. Definitely wouldn’t have found it if we didn’t come out that way.

Even though the grassy trails are still closed, the views of the lake are fantastic.

23 days ago

Nice little trail. Can’t wait to see the waterfall in full force. Nice walk in the woods and a fun trail.

Gorgeous trail.

Wow! The cave is incredible and the boulders are huge! Very easy trail and I will be back.

We loved this trail. It’s beautiful and challenging. Climbing down and back out was awesome! One thing I want to note, while dogs are allowed, I do not recommend taking them as they are required to be on a leash. Dogs make getting down into the canyon and back out far more dangerous. We had two small dogs and one large dog and I would not take them on this hike again. Also, as someone else here noted, going counterclockwise makes it easier! All the signage wants you to go clockwise, but we are so glad we went the other way.

Hiked both north and south trails in October. Color change was beautiful. Well maintained, a few bikers - courteous and friendly. Took my Cavalier King Charles - she loved it. Fun seeing all the mountain bike course fixtures in the south trail. Walking distance from campground.

It’s flat and basic, but that’s not necessarily bad. The corn has been harvested so I imagine the views are nicer now that you can see a little more skyline. It was a bit tricky to find the trailhead. Pull into the park and take the road to the left, go across the levy and park at shelter 3. The road is a loop where you park and you want to go to the opposite side of the parking where they’ve mowed a wide patch of path. Keep walking ~0.2 mi and you’ll see a sign marking the trail. There are two loops. The first loop (~1 mi, I didn’t actually check) you’ll end up where you parked, but shortly before that you’ll see the second loop head off to the right. Today the second loop was SO muddy 1/2 mi in and at one point the whole path was water. I was with my short legged dog who was already getting too messy so we had to turn around. It was still a nice day and an easy walk outside with decent views and a faint sighting of the downtown STL skyline.

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