My family usually spends our snowy winter days building a snowman or cruising down a sled hill. This winter, think outside the box and try an afternoon cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Explore your favorite summertime trails while they’re covered in a layer of fresh snow. Don’t have the equipment? Don’t worry! Stop at these scenic sights to rent what you need before hitting the trails.
Winter Hikes, Cross-Country Ski Rentals, and Snowshoe Rentals
Bartlett Nature Center
2054 W. Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
Snowshoes and cross-country skis can be rented from the Barlett Nature Center. Call ahead to confirm availability.
Red Oak Nature Center
2343 S River Street
Batavia, IL 60510
In past years, visitors could rent snowshoes from Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia. These services are not currently being offered due to safety guidelines, but check their website for more up-to-date information.
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve
27064 Dutton Road
Beecher, IL 60401
Snowshoes can be rented at Plum Creek Nature Center for $10 a pair. Call (708) 946-2216 for availability. Guests who have their own snowshoes or cross-country skis are welcome to use any of these Forest Preserve of Will County trails.
Hidden Oaks Nature Center
419 Trout Farm Road
Bolingbrook, IL 60440
Snowshoes can be checked out between 10:00am and 12:00pm, but must be returned by 2:00pm. Child, youth and adult sizes are available for $7/pair.
Lyman Woods Nature Center
901 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Snowshoes can be rented for a 3-hour session for just $6/pair. Snowshoes are available on a first come, first served basis.
Joliet Nordic Ski Club
Pilcher Park Nature Center
2501 Highland Park Drive
Joliet, IL 60432
Joliet Nordic Ski Club is the perfect organization for cross-country ski enthusiasts. Rentals are usually offered through Pilcher Park Nature Center, but are not running in 2021.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th Street
Lemont, IL 60439
If you’re interested in cross-country skiing, Sagawau is the place to go! In the winter, Sagawau Environmental Learning Center becomes a full-service cross-country ski center. Lessons and ski rentals are available for all skill levels as you glide through their trails.
Lisle, IL 60532
Morton Arboretum rents snowshoes to their visitors from 10:00am – 4:00pm on weekdays, and 9:00am – 4:00pm on weekends. Last rentals are at 3:00pm. Adults pay $13 per pair, while children 10 and younger pay $11 for full day rentals.
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Explore DuPage County Forest Preserves with a beautiful afternoon snowshoeing. Snowshoes can be rented for $10 for two hours or $15 for the day. Stop by the Fullersburg Woods office on Mondays through Saturdays from 10:00am – 4:00pm. Rentals end at 2:00pm. While cross-country skis are not available to rent through the DuPage County Forest Preserves, people are welcome to bring their own to over 70 miles of trails. Find more details about all the Winter Fun offered at DuPage County Forest Preserves.
Matthiessen State Park
Oglesby, IL 61348
Cross-country ski rental is available at Mattheissen State Park on weekends. Call ahead to confirm equipment availability and condition of the trails. Beside this scenic location, many other Illinois State Parks allow cross-country skiing with your own equipment.
Blackwell Forest Preserve
Entrance is on Butterfield Road between Batavia Road and Winfield Road
Warrenville, IL 60555
Explore DuPage County Forest Preserves with a beautiful afternoon snowshoeing. Snowshoes can be rented for $10 for two hours or $15 for the day. Stop by the tubing area at Mount Hoy from 10:00am – 2:00pm to request your pair of snowshoes. While cross-country skis are not available to rent through the DuPage County Forest Preserves, people are welcome to bring their own to over 70 miles of trails. Find more details about all the Winter Fun offered at DuPage County Forest Preserves.
Arrowhead Golf Club
26W151 Butterfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
Enjoy the beautiful sights at Arrowhead Golf Club. Stop in the clubhouse for rental opportunities. 2-hour ski rental packages for poles, skis and boots are $25 per adult and $15 for children under 12. Individual items can also be rented.
1000 W Lincoln Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
Advance registration is required for snowshoe rental at Lincoln Marsh. Patrons will pay $7 per hour for a pair of snowshoes. Reservations are made on weekdays from 8:00am – 3:00pm.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
9800 Willow Springs Road
Willow Springs, IL 60480
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center offers free snowshoe rentals, while supplies last! Register upon arrival between 8:30am – 2:30pm.
REI Snowgear Rentals
905 West Eastman Street
Chicago, IL 60642
901 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
While their Oak Brook location does not offer equipment rentals, you can find almost anything you’d need for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing at their Lincoln Park or Vernon Hills locations.
Get our tips for dressing kids for winter play in Chicagoland, or check out our Winter Activities for Kids and Families in the Western Suburbs.