Waterfalls make for such breathtaking sights, and there are surprisingly quite a few places near Chicago to spot these often hidden gems! Part of the fun is the adventure in finding these peaceful parts of nature. There are lots of nearby wooded trails to hike that are perfect for kids, and the excitement of exploring a beautiful waterfall is such a magnificent way to end your journey! We’ve sought out all the best spots for waterfalls in the area. All you have to do is pack the sunscreen, bug spray, and water shoes!
Helpful tip: bring a change of clothes for the car ride home, as there are often creeks that the kids can wade around in near the waterfalls.
Wonderful Waterfalls in Chicago’s West Suburbs
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
A good place to park is in the lot off of York Road, slightly north of Ogden Avenue. Then you can walk the paved trail under the bridge and past the giant waterwheel on the Graue Mill Museum. The museum is a fantastic place to pack in some learning time as it’s filled with interesting artifacts from life in the 1850’s-1890’s.
Delnor Woods Park
St. Charles, IL 60174
A fun spot to cross the creek is right by this waterfall, and there are various paved paths that circle the park, too. There was recently a restoration project here to restore the dam (originally constructed in the 1930’s) to be fully functional allowing visitors to continue fishing/bird watching.
Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve
35W003 Route 31
South Elgin, IL 60177
Most waterfalls around the Chicago area are made from dams, whereas this one is a natural waterfall that’s a little off the beaten path. Its beauty cascades down into a shallow creek. Annie wrote a great article about this waterfall, including helpful tips on where to park!
Lake Katherine Botanic Gardens
7402 Lake Katherine Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463
Near the entrance of Lake Katherine is a small but lovely waterfall, not far from the parking lot. The grounds are also beautiful for hiking, exploring wildlife and there’s a neat little nature center, too! Find out more about visiting Lake Katherine with additional photos and helpful tips here!
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
Cass And Northgate Roads
Darien, IL 60561
Rocky Glen Waterfall is a favorite of the Kidlist team as it’s simply breathtaking and surrounded by lots of fun things to do in the great outdoors! There’s a great Kidlist article with references from several Kidlist moms on our adventures and tips for visiting! Please note that as of May 15, 2022, according to Waterfall Glen’s website, the pedestrian bridge on the main loop trail is currently closed; you may need to find an alternate route.
1000 Ray Moses Drive
Aurora, IL 60505
In addition to the pretty waterfall at Phillips Park, there’s also a colorful tulip garden, fantastic playground, and a zoo! The park map will help you navigate around the area.
If you are inspired by nature’s beauty and want to explore with your family beyond waterfalls, we have lots of ideas for you! Here are just a few: