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10 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Illinois (2023 Guide)


May 1, 2023
Dog Outdoors Hiking in Woods Mixed Breed Labrador Rescue Puppy on a Sunny Day in the Park


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Dog Outdoors Hiking in Woods Mixed Breed Labrador Rescue Puppy on a Sunny Day in the Park

Despite having a reputation as the Prairie State, Illinois has many different hiking trails with varying elevations and beautiful views. Fortunately, many of these trails are dog-friendly, so you can take your furry companion with you to get some exercise and enjoy being immersed in nature. Some hiking trails require dogs to be on a leash, while others have areas for off-leash walking. Our list has some of the best dog-friendly hiking trails in Illinois and all the information you need to ensure you and your dog have a safe time hiking together.


The 10 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Illinois

1.  Trillium Trail

  • Recommended to walk the trail clockwise
  • Keep dogs on leashbecause some areas have poison ivy and copperhead snakes in summer
  • Many wildflowers and birds and present in summer
  • Trail includes an overlook with a scenic view
  • Stairs leading to the bluffs are pretty steep

2. Garden of the Gods Loop

  • Trail includes beautiful rock formations
  • Waterfalls are only active during wet seasons
  • Trail can get muddy so make sure to wear waterproof hiking shoes
  • Trail is used by both hikers and horseback riders
  • Many other trails are located in Shawnee National Forest

3. Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area

  • Easy and relaxing hike along Fox River
  • Can get busy during summer, especially on weekends
  • Picnic tables are located along the route
  • Also a popular fishing and hunting spot

4. DuPage River Trail: Whalon Lake Loop

  • Easy, child-friendly trail with a paved path
  • Plenty of family activities to do in Downtown Naperville
  • Trail is part of a network of trails that’s over 70 miles long

5. Des Plaines River Trail

  • Off-leash dog parks are onsite but require a paid permit
  • Entire trail is over 50 miles long
  • Keep an eye out for horseback riders
  • Some areas can flood during the rainy season

6. Cal-Sag Trail

  • Area is also a popular fishing destination
  • Beware of swans and stay away at a safe distance
  • Trail is paved, but some moderately steep areas may be challenging for strollers and wheelchairs

7. LaBagh Woods Nature Observation Loop

  • Trail can be unclear at times, so download anoffline map before visiting
  • Conveniently located close to Chicago
  • Popular location for birding and fishing
  • Can get very muddy

8. Black Hawk Forest Nature Preserve

  • Restrooms located throughout the entire park
  • Picnic areas and shelters with grills and fireplaces are available on a first-come-first-serve basis
  • Swimming is not allowed
  • A popularlocation for birding

9. Starved Rock State Park

10. Rim Rock National Recreational Trail



Whether it’s out in nature or near a busy town or city, Illinois has plenty of hiking options for you and your dog. Just keep in mind that most hiking trails require dogs to be leashed at all times and only let your dog run off-leash in designated dog-friendly areas. Most hiking trails also don’t have many trash receptacles, so make sure to pack light. Respecting park rules will ensure that both your dog and the surrounding wildlife are kept safe, and you can keep enjoying hikes together for many more years to come.

Featured Image Credit: N K, Shutterstock

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