Are you ready to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails in Illinois? From picturesque forests to breathtaking waterfalls, Illinois offers a variety of hiking trails for nature enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, Illinois has something for everyone. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best hiking trails in Illinois to help you plan your next outdoor adventure.

We curated this list of top hiking trails in Illinois by analyzing hundreds of reviews and considering factors like trail difficulty, scenery, and accessibility. By filtering through the data, we’ve created a ranking system that makes it easy for you to find the perfect trail for your next hike. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision and ensure a memorable hiking experience in the beautiful state of Illinois. So, pack your backpack and get ready to explore the natural wonders that await you on these scenic hiking trails!

Top hiking trails in illinois

  1. Garden of the Gods
  2. Giant City Nature Trail
  3. Ferne Clyffe State Park
  4. Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail
  5. Wildcat Canyon
  6. LaSalle Canyon
  7. Richard Young Forest Preserve
  8. Illinois Canyon
  9. Matthiessen State Park
  10. Moraine Hills State Park

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods in Herod, IL, is a top-rated hiking destination with a 4.9 rating from 4230 reviews. This scenic spot is known for its breathtaking sandstone rock formations and peaceful trails dotted with benches for resting. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, and picnicking amidst the stunning natural beauty of the area.

The Garden of the Gods offers hiking area and serves as a popular tourist attraction in Illinois. With a phone number provided for inquiries, visitors can easily plan their trip to this picturesque location. The unique rock formations and well-maintained trails make it an ideal spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The USPs of Garden of the Gods include its serene ambiance, diverse hiking trails, and opportunities for camping and picnicking. The Price Range for visiting this attraction is affordable, making it accessible to all types of visitors looking to explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner looking for a scenic and family-friendly adventure, Garden of the Gods is a must-visit destination that showcases the natural beauty of Illinois. With its stunning landscapes and recreational activities, this hiking spot offers an unforgettable experience for all who venture there.

Garden of the Gods

Contact Details

Phone: +16186582111
Address: Herod, IL 62947, United States
Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/shawnee/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid\u003d10685\u0026actid\u003d51

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday Open 24 hours
Monday Open 24 hours
Tuesday Open 24 hours
Wednesday Open 24 hours
Thursday Open 24 hours
Friday Open 24 hours
Saturday Open 24 hours

Giant City Nature Trail

Giant City Nature Trail in Cobden, Illinois, is a popular spot for hiking enthusiasts, offering a picturesque outdoor experience. With a high rating of 4.9 out of 5 from 310 reviews, it is clear that visitors have had positive experiences at this location. The trail is known for its natural beauty and serene ambiance, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

This hiking area provides a range of services, including well-maintained trails and guided tours for visitors. The Giant City Nature Trail is a tourist attraction that showcases the beauty of the Illinois landscape, attracting outdoor enthusiasts from near and far.

Considered as one of the top hiking trails in Illinois, Giant City Nature Trail stands out for its extensive trail network and the opportunity to explore the local flora and fauna. The reasonable price range makes it accessible to all, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the natural beauty of the area. If you are looking for a peaceful retreat into nature, Giant City Nature Trail is a great choice for a memorable hiking experience in Illinois.

Giant City Nature Trail

Contact Details

Address: Cobden, IL 62920, United States


Ferne Clyffe State Park

Ferne Clyffe State Park in Goreville, Illinois is a hidden gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This 2,430-acre park offers a plethora of hiking trails that wind through striking rock formations, lush forests, and lead to a picturesque waterfall. With a rating of 4.8 and over 1600 positive reviews, it’s clear that visitors have had unforgettable experiences here.

The park’s unique selling points lie in its tranquil ambiance, diverse landscapes, and opportunities for outdoor activities like fishing and birdwatching. It serves as a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, offering visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and unwind.

Ferne Clyffe State Park falls under the categories of a state park and tourist attraction in Illinois. Its affordability and wide range of services make it an attractive destination for families, solo travelers, and avid hikers. The park’s address is 90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL 62939, and you can contact them at +16189952411 for more information. So, if you’re looking for a memorable hiking adventure in Illinois, consider visiting Ferne Clyffe State Park for an unforgettable experience in the great outdoors.

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Contact Details

Phone: +16189952411
Address: 90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL 62939, United States
Website: https://dnr.illinois.gov/parks/park.ferneclyffe.html

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday Open 24 hours
Monday Open 24 hours
Tuesday Open 24 hours
Wednesday Open 24 hours
Thursday Open 24 hours
Friday Open 24 hours
Saturday Open 24 hours

Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail

Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail in Goreville, Illinois is a hidden gem for hikers seeking a serene and picturesque experience. With a stellar rating of 4.8 and over 400 reviews, this trail is highly regarded among nature enthusiasts. The trail is nestled in Regent Ln, Goreville, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail is known for its stunning waterfall views and tranquil surroundings, making it a perfect spot for hiking enthusiasts of all levels. The trail primarily caters to hiking activities, providing a range of options for visitors to explore and connect with nature.

One of the unique selling points of this trail is its beautiful location and well-maintained paths, offering a hassle-free hiking experience. The moderate price range makes it accessible to all, making it an affordable adventure for families and solo hikers alike.

Readers should consider Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail for its breathtaking scenery, peaceful ambiance, and well-marked trails, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to unwind and reconnect with nature in Illinois.

Ferne Clyffe Waterfall Trail

Contact Details

Address: Regent Ln, Goreville, IL 62939, United States


Wildcat Canyon

Wildcat Canyon in Oglesby, Illinois, is a hidden gem for nature lovers with a passion for hiking. This state park offers stunning trails that wind through the picturesque Wildcat Canyon, providing hikers with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The park is known for its well-maintained hiking areas, making it a perfect choice for both beginners and experienced hikers alike.

Visitors can expect a moderate price range for access to the park’s trails and facilities. Wildcat Canyon primarily caters to hikers looking for a peaceful escape into nature, offering a variety of hiking routes suitable for all skill levels. Their unique selling points include the serene atmosphere of the canyon, the diverse flora and fauna that can be spotted along the trails, and the opportunity to connect with nature in a tranquil setting.

If you’re looking for a hiking experience that combines natural beauty with accessibility, Wildcat Canyon is the place to be. Whether you’re exploring solo or with family and friends, this state park promises a memorable outdoor adventure that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired. Consider Wildcat Canyon for your next hiking excursion and immerse yourself in the wonders of Illinois’ natural landscape.

Wildcat Canyon

Contact Details

Phone: +18156674211
Address: River Trail, Oglesby, IL 61348
Website: http://www.starvedrockstatepark.org/

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Monday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Tuesday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Wednesday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Thursday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Friday 6:30 AM–9 PM
Saturday 6:30 AM–9 PM

LaSalle Canyon

LaSalle Canyon in Oglesby, Illinois, is a hidden gem for hiking enthusiasts looking to explore the beauty of nature. With a stellar rating of 4.8 and 280 reviews, this state park offers a peaceful escape for outdoor lovers. The park boasts a range of hiking trails, making it a perfect destination for adventure seekers. Located on IL-71, LaSalle Canyon is easily accessible for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the wonders of the great outdoors.

Visitors to LaSalle Canyon can enjoy a variety of services, including guided tours, hiking areas, and scenic views that are sure to take your breath away. The park’s unique selling points include its picturesque landscapes, tranquil ambiance, and abundance of wildlife. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, LaSalle Canyon offers something for everyone.

Consider LaSalle Canyon for your next hiking adventure and experience the beauty of Illinois like never before. The park’s affordable price range makes it a budget-friendly option for families and solo travelers alike. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this hidden treasure in the heart of Illinois.

LaSalle Canyon

Contact Details

Phone: +18156674726
Address: IL-71, Oglesby, IL 61348, United States

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday 5 AM–9 PM
Monday 5 AM–9 PM
Tuesday 5 AM–9 PM
Wednesday 5 AM–9 PM
Thursday 5 AM–9 PM
Friday 5 AM–9 PM
Saturday 5 AM–9 PM

Richard Young Forest Preserve

Richard Young Forest Preserve is a hidden gem located in Yorkville, Illinois, perfect for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With a stellar rating of 4.8 based on 114 reviews, this preserve offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The preserve is known for its picturesque hiking trails, making it a popular choice for visitors looking to immerse themselves in nature.

The services provided at Richard Young Forest Preserve include guided tours of the beautiful natural surroundings, making it an ideal spot for both locals and tourists. The preserve stands out for its well-maintained trails that cater to hikers of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced trekkers.

What sets Richard Young Forest Preserve apart is its serene and peaceful ambiance, allowing visitors to connect with nature and unwind in a scenic setting. The preserve offers a unique opportunity to explore diverse flora and fauna while enjoying a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike.

Overall, Richard Young Forest Preserve is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a rejuvenating outdoor experience. Visitors can expect a moderate price range for the services offered, making it an affordable and rewarding adventure for families and individuals alike. So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking to enjoy a leisurely walk in nature, Richard Young Forest Preserve is definitely worth considering for your next outdoor excursion.

Richard Young Forest Preserve

Contact Details

Phone: +16305534025
Address: 8225 IL-71, Yorkville, IL 60560, United States

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday 8 AM–6 PM
Monday 8 AM–6 PM
Tuesday 8 AM–6 PM
Wednesday 8 AM–6 PM
Thursday 8 AM–6 PM
Friday 8 AM–6 PM
Saturday 8 AM–6 PM

Illinois Canyon

Illinois Canyon in Ottawa, IL offers a picturesque hiking area that has garnered a solid rating of 4.8 from 106 reviews. Situated in a serene location, this hiking spot is perfect for nature enthusiasts looking to explore the great outdoors. The service category provided by Illinois Canyon is primarily focused on hiking experiences, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a day of adventure in Illinois.

Visitors to Illinois Canyon can expect a moderate price range for a memorable hiking experience. The canyon offers a range of services catering to hikers of all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned trekkers. With its stunning natural landscapes and well-maintained trails, Illinois Canyon stands out for its unique and scenic setting, making it a standout choice for hikers in Illinois.

Those considering Illinois Canyon should take note of its USPs, including its tranquil ambiance and diverse flora and fauna. The hiking trails provide a great opportunity to immerse oneself in nature, offering a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful hike surrounded by the beauty of Illinois’ landscape, making Illinois Canyon a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking to reconnect with nature.

Illinois Canyon

Contact Details

Phone: +18156674211
Address: Ottawa, IL 61350, United States
Website: http://www.starvedrockstatepark.org/

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday 6 AM–9 PM
Monday 6 AM–9 PM
Tuesday 6 AM–9 PM
Wednesday 6 AM–9 PM
Thursday 6 AM–9 PM
Friday 6 AM–9 PM
Saturday 6 AM–9 PM

Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen State Park, located in Oglesby, Illinois, is a nature lover’s paradise with its vast forest, picturesque canyons, and diverse wildlife. With a high rating of 4.7 stars from 4629 reviews, this state park offers a range of services including camping, hiking trails, and horseback riding. The park’s unique selling points lie in its stunning prairie landscapes, natural springs, and well-maintained trails suitable for all skill levels.

Visitors to Matthiessen State Park can expect a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature’s beauty. The park’s address is 2500 IL-178, making it easily accessible for those in the area. One of the standout features of this park is its affordability, falling within a reasonable price range for a day of outdoor exploration.

For hiking enthusiasts looking for a scenic adventure in Illinois, Matthiessen State Park is a must-visit destination. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful stroll or a challenging trek, the park’s variety of trails cater to all preferences. With its serene atmosphere and stunning vistas, Matthiessen State Park promises a memorable outdoor experience for all ages.

Matthiessen State Park

Contact Details

Phone: +18156674726
Address: 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348
Website: https://dnr.illinois.gov/parks/park.matthiessen.html


Moraine Hills State Park

Moraine Hills State Park, located at 1510 S River Rd, McHenry, IL, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Illinois. With a rating of 4.7 and over 1854 reviews, this state park offers a range of services for visitors to enjoy. The park is open seasonally, with specific hours posted at the entrance to ensure visitors are aware of closing times. Visitors should take note of closures during deer firearm seasons and on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Moraine Hills State Park is known for its scenic hiking trails, making it a great choice for nature lovers and hikers. The park also offers amenities for ice fishermen, with specific guidelines for fishing on the ice. With its beautiful surroundings and recreational activities, Moraine Hills State Park stands out as a top tourist attraction in Illinois.

Visitors to Moraine Hills State Park can expect a peaceful and serene environment, perfect for a day of outdoor exploration. The park’s USPs include its diverse wildlife, picturesque landscapes, and well-maintained trails. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, Moraine Hills State Park has something for everyone to enjoy. Consider visiting this hidden gem in Illinois for a day of outdoor adventure and relaxation.

Moraine Hills State Park

Contact Details

Phone: +18153851624
Address: 1510 S River Rd, McHenry, IL 60051, United States
Website: https://dnr.illinois.gov/parks/park.morainehills.html

Opening Hours

Day Open – Close
Sunday 8 AM–5 PM
Monday 8 AM–5 PM
Tuesday 8 AM–5 PM
Wednesday 8 AM–5 PM
Thursday 8 AM–5 PM
Friday 8 AM–5 PM
Saturday 8 AM–5 PM

Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Trails in Illinois

Illinois may not be known for towering mountains or vast wilderness, but it offers a surprising variety of hiking trails that showcase the state’s natural beauty. Here are some tips to help you choose the best hiking trails in Illinois:

What to Look For

  1. Trail Difficulty: Consider your fitness level and experience when selecting a trail. Illinois offers trails ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes with steep inclines.

  2. Trail Length: Decide how long of a hike you are looking for. Illinois has trails that range from short, scenic strolls to longer, multi-mile treks.

  3. Scenery: Whether you prefer wooded areas, prairies, or waterfront views, Illinois has a diverse range of landscapes to explore. Choose a trail that offers the scenery you enjoy most.

  4. Trail Amenities: Some trails feature picnic areas, restrooms, and interpretive signs. Depending on your preferences, you may want to choose a trail that offers these amenities.

How to Find Hiking Trails

  1. Online Resources: Utilize websites and apps like AllTrails, Hiking Project, or the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website to discover hiking trails in Illinois. These resources provide trail maps, difficulty ratings, and user reviews.

  2. Local Recommendations: Ask locals or visit outdoor recreation stores in nearby areas or neighborhoods for recommendations on the best hiking trails. They often have insider knowledge of lesser-known gems.

  3. Trail Guidebooks: Consider purchasing a trail guidebook specific to hiking in Illinois. These books provide detailed information on various trails, including trail length, difficulty, and points of interest.

Exploring Nearby Areas

When planning your hiking adventure in Illinois, consider exploring nearby neighborhoods or towns to enhance your experience. For example, the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois offers a myriad of hiking trails surrounded by unique rock formations and stunning vistas. Nearby towns like Galena and Starved Rock State Park provide charming accommodation options and dining experiences for hikers.

By taking these factors into account and exploring the diverse hiking opportunities in Illinois, you can ensure a rewarding and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Choose a trail that aligns with your preferences and embark on a memorable journey through the natural beauty of the Prairie State.

Final Remarks

As you explore the diverse hiking trails in Illinois, from the stunning Starved Rock State Park to the peaceful Shawnee National Forest, you are sure to be captivated by the natural beauty and tranquility that surrounds you. Whether you are a beginner hiker or a seasoned adventurer, Illinois offers trails that cater to all skill levels and preferences. Don’t forget to venture out to nearby areas like Galena or the Quad Cities for even more hiking opportunities. Share your favorite Illinois hiking experiences in the comments below and inspire others to lace up their boots and hit the trails!

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