love to run blog

Seven Chicagoland Running Trails You should Try

Erin Hesch May 5, 21

With the warming Chicago weather, we invite you to try some new running trails in Chicagoland! Here, we’ve listed a few that you can explore for your next outdoor run, whether you are visiting this Summer or are a Chicago local. Share with your running buddy so they can see the options and they can tag along too!

Chicago Lakefront Trail

This 18.5 mile paved trail is a favorite among Chicagoans, as its views are hard to top: you’ll see Lake Michigan lined with beaches as you pass by various parks filled with soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds, and more. Not to mention the spectacular view of the Chicago Skyline!

Chicago Riverwalk

Stretching four miles around the Chicago river, the Chicago Riverwalk offers fantastic views of the city’s skyline and architectural landmarks, such as the DuSable Bridge, Tribune Tower, NBC Tower, and Wrigley Building. If you’re a night runner, the Riverwalk will wow you with its changing colorful lights and illuminated fountains. 

Lincoln Park Trail

This trail runs about five and a half through the wooded Lincoln Park and around the lake. You’ll be able to appreciate sophisticated Victorian architecture as you pass by, and you have the option to extend your run for a fun detour through the Lincoln Park Zoo! Or if you prefer a nice lake breeze, opt to connect your run to the North Avenue Beach stretch of the Lakefront Trail.

North Shore Channel Trail

Running parallel to the soothing waters of the North Shore Channel and lined with beautiful greenery and residential areas, this trail stretches near the distance of a half marathon both ways. One of the routes features Chicago’s Highland Park neighborhood, where you can pass by houses made famous in the John Hughes movies “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club!”

The 606

This abandoned industrial railway turned elevated trail and park is a staple in the West Side. With access to Logan Square, Bucktown, Wicker Park, and Humboldt Park, the 606 is a popular spot for runners, bikers, and families alike. You’ll also be able to enjoy scenic lookouts, an observatory, and art installations on your run here. 

Busse Woods Trail

If you’re looking for a nature run near Chicago, this one’s for you! The Busse Woods Trail system is part of the Ned Brown Forest Preserve, a 3,700-acre nature preserve in the northwestern Chicago suburbs. The paved trail system covers 11.2 miles, guiding you through lakes and meadows of the park. As you run, you’ll enjoy the forest and marsh areas, as well as an elk pasture!

North Branch Trail

This beautiful trail connects several forest preserves along the North Branch of the Chicago River, and follows a path from northwest Chicago to the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe—go in the spring to see the flowers blooming! You’ll also find alternate dirt paths through the woods if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in nature. This is a perfect area for longer runs through some of Chicago’s beautiful scenery.

Chicago Running Trails

Look out for some of these great running spots in the Chicago area for your next outdoor running adventure this spring and summer! Check out our other blog posts at Happy running!


Leave a Reply

Want to see your race
on I Love Runs?

Over 10,000 people from all over the country visit our site daily. I Love Runs is the nation’s hub to find local races. Runners trust us to help them find local groups, decide which running gear is best for them, and provide them helpful tips and tricks to become a better runner. List your race now!

Get Started

Sign up for our newsletter

* indicates required