Take A Hike: Top Trails For Hiking In Illinois

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure in Illinois, hiking is a perfect option. With countless trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone. From waterfalls to canyons, Illinois has numerous scenic routes that are ideal for both the novice and the experienced hiker. Here are some of the top hiking trails in the state.

Starved Rock State Park

Located in Utica, Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular destinations for hiking in Illinois. Here you can find trails ranging from easy to moderate and difficult. With 13 miles of trails, you can explore the beautiful waterfalls, canyons, and bluffs. Some of the most popular trails in this park are the French Canyon Trail, Wildcat Canyon Trail, and the St. Louis Canyon Trail.

Matthiessen State Park

Just a few miles away from Starved Rock State Park, you will find Matthiessen State Park. This park offers some of the best hiking trails in Illinois. The park features five miles of trails that are accessible year-round. The most popular trail is the Dells Canyon Trail, which is a one-mile loop that takes you through dramatic canyons and waterfalls.

Shawnee National Forest

Located in Southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest is a perfect place to explore the outdoors. The forest is home to over 280 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. The Garden of the Gods Trail is an iconic trail that offers stunning views of unique rock formations, making it the highlight of the forest.

Giant City State Park

Another great hiking destination in Southern Illinois is Giant City State Park. This park has 12 miles of trails that offer a mix of terrain, from rocky bluffs to lush forests. The most popular trail is the Giant City Nature Trail. This trail is an easy hike, and it takes trekkers through a dense forest and views of the park’s famous bluffs.

Illinois Prairie Path

If you’re looking for a different kind of hiking experience, consider the Illinois Prairie Path. This trail is unique because it is entirely on a flat surface, making it perfect for those who are new to hiking. The Illinois Prairie Path is an old railroad line that has been transformed into a 61-mile trail, and it passes through several small towns. This trail offers excellent opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the wildflowers.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Located in DuPage County, Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a 2,492-acre park with over 11 miles of hiking trails. The park’s most popular trail is the Waterfall Glen Trail, which is a 9.5-mile loop that offers views of waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

Cache River State Natural Area

In Southern Illinois, Cache River State Natural Area is a beautiful destination for hiking. The park features a mix of hiking trails, from boardwalks to gravel paths. The park’s most popular trail is the Cache River Trail, which offers views of unique wetlands and ancient cypress trees.


In conclusion, Illinois is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or a challenging one, there’s a trail in Illinois that will suit your needs. From waterfalls to canyons and everything in between, Illinois offers a variety of unique hiking experiences. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and explore the natural beauty that Illinois has to offer.

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