Get Out, Get Active

Experience some of state’s best trails this winter.

Scroll

Put on your coziest coat and get ready to snowshoe, hike, or ski cross-country on some of Illinois’ best trails for witnessing a winter wonderland.

The Morton Arboretum, Lisle

Staff groom some, but not all, of the 16 miles of trail weaving through the DuPage County grove—and that’s part of the fun. Cross-country skis or snowshoes, both available for rent at the visitor center between January 15 and March 21, carry guests through the untouched powder and snow-laced trees.

Starved Rock State Park

Bring your own snowshoes, cross country skis, or spikes to visit frozen waterfalls draping over cliffs along the 13-mile Starved Rock trail network. Keep watch for bald eagles, which flock to the area come wintertime (the dam’s churning water keeps the Illinois River thawed and the fish catchable).

Shawnee National Forest Little Grand Canyon Trail

The challenging, three-mile trail leading into and out of the box canyon involves steep stairs carved into rock, so pack appropriate spikes and shoes. Still, wandering by looming sandstone overhangs and snow-crusted sycamores is well worth the quad-burners. A shorter path offers views of the Mississippi River floodplain and colorful cliff walls.

Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton

Burial mounds belonging to Native American peoples dot the park, including near McAdams Peak, a popular vantage point for glimpsing bald eagles perched in the treetops. As you wander along 12 miles of marked trail past limestone formations, keep your footsteps light for a chance at spotting a deer.

Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort, Galena

Stop by the Nordic Center General Pro Shop to rent a pair of snowshoes before beginning your trek around the 6,800-acre property. To truly get your heart pumping, try the 3.5-mile-long trail filled with rolling hills and enchanting woodlands along the back half of the General golf course.

Pleasant Valley, Woodstock and Hickory Grove Highlands, Cary

Solar-powered lights line the trails in these two McHenry County parks, guiding cross-country skiers on their evening jaunts (trails close at 9 p.m.). Opt for the flatter terrain on Pleasant Valley’s half-mile loop if you’re new to the sport, saving Hickory Grove’s .75-mile path through restored savanna for when you’ve built up endurance.

Any Neighborhood, Illinois

Adventure awaits no matter where you’re traveling in the Land of Lincoln, as long as you’re willing to bundle up. Pause a second to admire a mural you’ve only ever driven by, peruse shop windows on that block off main street, or simply marvel at a park’s blank canvas of freshly fallen snow—before adding a snow angel, of course.

By Angela Ufheil
Related Reads:

Five Places to Stay on a Winter Getaway in Southern Illinois

Five Places to Stay on a Winter Getaway in Southern Illinois
in Activities

Whether you’re planning a family holiday trip or a weekend getaway with friends ...

It’s a Date

It’s a Date
in Eat & DrinkRegional GetawaysLocal Experts

These Three Destinations Bring Fun and Flirtation to Your Weekend GetawayEpic Ch...

Experience the Southern Illinois Golf Trail

Experience the Southern Illinois Golf Trail
in Family FunOutdoorsEat & DrinkRegional Getaways

Did you know Illinois is one of the Midwest’s top golf destinations? That’s righ...

Enjoy Illinois Magazine

Enjoy Illinois Magazine

Find unexpected ways to enjoy Illinois in this biannual magazine that explores every corner of the state. Each issue offers a mix of travel stories, stunning photography and timely trip ideas that make the most of each season.

Order a Copy

Order a copy of Enjoy Illinois and also receive the Illinois State Park Guide and an Official Highway Map.

Order Print Version
Grab a Digital Copy

Read Enjoy Illinois magazine online or download the PDF and start exploring trip ideas around Illinois.

View it Online Download PDF

Send me Enjoy Illinois Magazine

Get inspired by top travel stories, and discover even more reasons to #EnjoyIllinois.

Order a Copy!