Wellness & Nature

Hit the Ground Running: Chicago’s Top 4 Must-Try Trails!

Chicago, the Windy City, is a runner's paradise. With its sprawling parks, scenic waterfronts, and vibrant neighborhoods, the city offers a variety of running trails that cater to all levels of runners.

From the serene lakefront paths to the hilly forest preserves, Chicago boasts of dozens of running trails that are perfect for a quick morning jog or a long-distance run.

Whether you are a seasoned runner or just starting, there is a trail for everyone. The running trails in Chicago offer a unique blend of nature and urban landscapes, making each run a memorable experience.

With the city's skyline as a backdrop, runners can explore the diverse neighborhoods, lush greenery, and historic landmarks while getting their daily dose of exercise.

The best part about running in Chicago is that the trails are easily accessible. Most of the trails are located in or near the city, making it convenient for runners to fit in a quick run before work or during their lunch break.

With well-marked paths and ample parking, the running trails in Chicago are easy to navigate, even for first-time runners.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the best running trails in Chicago, highlighting their unique features, distance, and difficulty level.

Whether you are looking for a scenic waterfront trail or a challenging forest preserve, we've got you covered. So put on your running shoes, grab your water bottle, and let's explore the best running trails in Chicago.

1. The 606

The 606
1805 N Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Google Maps)

The 606 is a well-maintained, 2.7-mile elevated trail perfect for walking, running, and biking.

The trail is surrounded by lush vegetation and interesting art installations, providing a beautiful urban escape.

However, it can get crowded on hot days, so it's best to visit during less busy times. There are water fountains along the way, but no bathrooms.

Despite this, the trail is litter-free and offers a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

2. Lakefront Trail – Grant Park

Lakefront Trail - Grant Park
Lakefront Trl, Chicago, IL 60605 (Google Maps)

Lakefront Trail – Grant Park is a scenic and well-maintained running trail that stretches along the waterfront for 18 miles.

The paved path is perfect for runners of all levels, offering picturesque views of Lake Michigan and Chicago's skyline.

The trail winds through various landscapes, including manicured lawns and natural prairies, providing a peaceful and relaxing environment for a morning jog or an evening run.

With easy access to nearby attractions like the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium, Lakefront Trail – Grant Park is a must-visit destination for any runner or outdoor enthusiast visiting Chicago.

3. Chicago Riverview

Chicago Riverview
N Branch Riverwalk, Chicago, IL 60618 (Google Maps)

Looking for a running trail that offers a bit of nature in the city of Chicago, then Chicago Riverview could be the perfect choice.

This trail is the last bastion of riverside wildness before the busy retail destinations along Elston or Clybourn. It's a great place for picnics, kayaking, and enjoying nature in the city.

The trail's southern terminus is the Riverside bike trail, which is perfect for biking on dirt bumps and taking in the scenery.

Additionally, the trail offers boat rental, crew teams, open fields, and woods, making it a perfect spot for hiking and enjoying the great outdoors. All in all, Chicago Riverview is an ideal spot for those looking for a peaceful escape in the bustling city.

4. Big Marsh Park

Big Marsh Park
11559 S Stony Is Ave, Chicago, IL 60617 (Google Maps)

Big Marsh Park is a 280-acre open space with hiking trails, nature areas for bird watching, and an off-road bike park. The park has a variety of trails for runners of all levels.

Although the signage and trail length information could be improved, the park offers a unique and enjoyable running experience with frequent wildlife sightings.

The park is also family-friendly with picnic space and restrooms available.

With plans to expand, Big Marsh Park is a great destination for those looking for a mix of nature and adventure.