Winter Hikes, Snowshoe Rentals, and Cross-Country Skiing

By:
Outdoor ActivitiesWinter

Mom confession: I’m not an outdoorsy parent (or person, really). As you might imagine, this is tricky in winter because, no matter how much I want to stay cozied up on the couch, my kids need to move! Fortunately, there are a lot of local trails that become magical once the ground turns white. The quiet crunch of the snow underfoot and the occasional skittering of a squirrel or bird is more peaceful than you might imagine, and it is a fresh, new way for my kids to escape being cooped up in the house. (Added bonus: no bugs, bug spray, sunblock, or poison ivy!) If you’re interested in winter hikes, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing, check out our list of local places to make some memories in the great outdoors.

Don’t have the equipment? No worries! We’ve listed rental options below, too.

Winter Hikes, Cross-Country Ski Rentals, and Snowshoe Rentals

Bartlett Nature Center
2054 W. Stearns Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
(847) 608-3120

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
(630) 897-1808

Snowshoe rentals are available for ages 8+ at the nature center between December and March when there is more than three inches of snow on the ground. Rental is $5 per pair. See the website for nature center hours.

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 and trail conditions. 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
(630) 739-2600

Effective January 2022, Hidden Oaks is now a part of the Forest Preserve District of Will County and no longer under the control of the Bolingbrook Park District. Call before you plan a visit so that you can get the most up-to-date information about rental prices, facilities, etc. Alternatively, you can follow their Facebook page for more information.

Lyman Woods Nature Center
901 31st Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 963-9388

Snowshoes can be rented for a 3-hour session for $8/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 an organization for cross-country ski enthusiasts. Rentals (typically offered through the Pilcher Park location, which is temporarily closed) are currently not being offered due to the pandemic.

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
12545 West 111th Street
Lemont, IL 60439
(630) 257-2045

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, so if you’re a beginner, this is a great place to start! Ski trail conditions are updated regularly on their Facebook page.

Morton Arboretum
4100 IL-53
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 968-0074

Ski and snowshoe rentals begin January 15, 2022. Before then, people with their own equipment are welcome as long as there is a minimum of four inches of snow on the ground.

Fullersburg Woods
3609 Spring Road
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 850-8110

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 50 miles of groomed trails. Find more details about all the winter fun offered at DuPage County Forest Preserves.

Matthiessen State Park
2500 IL-178
Oglesby, IL 61348
(815) 667-4726

Cross-country ski rental is available at Mattheissen State Park on weekends. Call ahead at (815) 343-7125 or (815) 343-9014 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 50 miles of groomed trails. Find more details about all the Winter Fun offered at DuPage County Forest Preserves.

Arrowhead Golf Club
26W151 Butterfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 653-5800

Cross-country ski enthusiasts will enjoy the beautiful sights and groomed trails 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.

Lincoln Marsh
1000 W Lincoln Avenue
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 871-2810

Advance registration is required for snowshoe rental at Lincoln Marsh. Patrons will pay $7 per hour (maximum of 3 hours) 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
(708) 839-6897

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center offers free snowshoe rentals while supplies last! Register upon arrival between 8:30am – 2:30pm.

REI Snowgear Rentals
Lincoln Park
905 West Eastman Street
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 951-6020

Vernon Hills
901 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Unit 100
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 573-0356

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.

If snow isn’t your thing, glide on over to our freshly updated 2022 ice skating guide or check out our Winter Activities for Kids and Families in the Western Suburbs.

Join the List

Let us help you plan fun days!
Get kid-friendly updates straight to your inbox

"*" indicates required fields

When would you like to receive Kidlist emails?*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Related Articles

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Our Amazing Sponsors
Popular Guides