The Morton Arboretum – Glen Ellyn, IL
The Arboretum is an engaging and fun 1,700-acre garden of trees and other woody plants from around the world. Enjoy the Children’s Garden, Maze Garden, 16 miles of hiking trails, nine miles of roads or a guided tour amid handicapped-accessible facilities. My personal favorite of the facility is during season changes where they really put effort into decorating the tress and area. When I go on my long runs I really appreciate a trail that has a well mannered upkeep.
The Great Western Trail – Villa Park, IL
The eastern segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 12 miles of an abandoned railway corridor through DuPage County, between Villa Park and West Chicago. There are plans to extend the eastern segment of the Great Western Trail west of Route 59. As the Great Western Trail makes a straight shot west from Villa Park, it cuts through residential areas and brushes against community parks and forest preserves. Expect to see woods, prairie, and wetlands, particularly on the second half of the route. This trail is very dear to me being that I grew up down the street from the trail, and having a lot of memories on it. If you are in to a basic straight line trail this is the area for you. If you are also a fan of untouched rivers and creeks you will be surprised to see some, but you have to keep an eye out for them.
Danada Forest Preserve – Wheaton, IL
The affluent suburb of Wheaton, Illinois, is riddled with more than fifty parks, including the rolling hills of Danada, a place flush with history. It was once home to Dan and Ada Rice, owners of the legendary thoroughbred stallion Lucky Debonair, best known for winning the Kentucky Derby in 1965 against heavy favorites Bold Lad, Dapper Dan, and hall-of-famer Tom Rolfe. The Rices have since established a popular equestrian center surrounded by a quiet forest preserve with woodlands, prairies, and lakes. On this short hike, you’ll explore the historic equestrian grounds, a dense hardwood forest, and the prairie-hemmed Rice Lake. If you are a ran of horses this place is a dream to run at. Though if you go deeper into less trailed areas be aware of low hanging branches.
Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve – Hinsdale, IL
You may be surprised to find this much natural beauty just 20 miles from the Loop. Nearly this entire hike accompanies Salt Creek as it meanders next to a bluff and winds around a couple of islands on its way to the historic watermill at the south tip of the park. It’s a pretty simple trail at about 3 miles long, and not much elevation, or curves. But it is still a beautiful place to go if you live in the area.
Illinois Praire Path – Glen Ellyn, IL
The Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail trails in the nation, runs along the route of the former Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railway, an electric railroad line that carried commuters and freight between Chicago and its western suburbs. This trail is very similar to the Great Western Trail, except it’s length is about 13 miles. Again very beautiful surroundings, but I’ve noticed more activity on this trail. More runners, bike riders, and dog walkers.