The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you just don’t feel like taking your dog for a walk around the same block or to the same dog park. Luckily, there are some great dog-friendly hiking trails around the west and southwest suburbs. Hiking with your pup on one of these trails is a great activity for an extra hot day: several of them have dense tree cover and offer more shade than the dog parks and off-leash forest preserve areas we wrote about earlier in the summer. Be sure to leash your dog as you may encounter other dogs, walkers, or bikers on your hike.
On-Leash Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails and Locations
Fox River Trail
The Fox River trail spans almost 45 miles with trail endpoints in Oswego and Algonquin and is managed by the Rails-to-Trails organization.
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Trails in Fullersburg woods are largely friendly for dogs that are on-leash, though there is a portion where dogs are not permitted due to the presence of wildlife (signage is posted). Note that dogs are not allowed in Salt Creek.
Great Western Trail
395 Swift Road
Lombard, IL 60148
The trail is 14 miles of abandoned railway from St. Charles to the DeKalb County Line. This is a shared use trail, so you will encounter runners, walkers, and bikers. You will find horses on specifically maintained trails, too.
Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail
Can be accessed by several locations, see website.
The I&M Canal Trail is 7.55 miles of paved/crushed limestone trail located in Will County. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset and accommodates biking, hiking, running, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing (even though we don’t want to think about those things right now!).
4100 Illinois 53
Lisle, IL 60532
Morton Arboretum has specific days they call “Tails on the Trails” days. There is a nominal fee per dog (in addition to an entry fee) that includes a pet bandana, and the event usually runs from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm with dogs allowed on the grounds from 7:00 am to sunset for hiking. Be sure to check out their site for info on other general dog admission days.
500 Jackson Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
The Naperville Riverwalk features 1.75 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, outdoor sculpture/artwork, and memorials. The path is open to leashed dogs, and several local restaurants welcome dogs on their patios. Some even have dog menus!
There are three branches and two spurs, so check out this trail map to see where to pick one up. Trails run from as far east as Oak Park to Elgin on the northwest side and Aurora on the southwest.
The Illinois Prairie Path is a multi-use trail, so expect to see other walkers, runners, and bikers. Leashed pets are free to use the trail. It spans 61 miles and crosses Cook, DuPage, and Kane Counties.
Options Outside of the West and Southwest Suburbs
Chicago Trailhead: E. 100th St. to S. Avenue O
Calumet City Trailhead: State St. and River Oaks Dr./US 6 just east of Torrence Avenue
Burnham Greenway is part of the set of trails being supported by the nonprofit Rails-to-Trails. The trail is asphalt and you may find walkers, bikers, and inline skaters. These trails are also wheelchair accessible.
Shawnee National Forest
50 Highway 145 South
Harrisburg, IL 62946
Shawnee National Forest has miles of diverse trails, including a 160 mil river to river trail. Horseback riders may be on the trails, so they advise to pass on the downhill side of the trail so as not to startle horses.
Chicago Lakefront Bike Path
The Lakefront Path starts as far north as Edgewater (5800 North Sheridan Avenue, Chicago) and extends south to South Shore (7100 South Lakeshore Drive, Chicago).
There are several sights to see along the path including Lincoln Park Zoo, South Shore Cultural Center, Navy Pier, and Burnham Park).
Our Furry Friends guide has amazing local resources for dog owners! Check back regularly for new features to help you enjoy time with the furriest member of your family. The Furry Friends Guide is sponsored by Robert Hutchison, your Realtor for the western suburbs of Chicago.