When visiting Naperville, IL, you will find plenty of fun things to see and do during your time there. While you may spend most of your time in the city, you should also spend some of your time exploring the surrounding area. Some beautiful landscapes surround Naperville, and one of the best ways to explore the area and see the sights is to go hiking. There are multiple trails to enjoy near Naperville, and each has something different to offer in terms of challenges and scenery. Here is a traveler's guide to hiking in Naperville, IL, to help you get the most out of your experience in the area.
Springbrook Prairie Trail
According to All Trails, one of Naperville's best trails is the Springbrook Prairie Trail. It is also one of the most popular as it is relatively easy. There are two separate sections to the trail, so you have the option to complete just one or both trails. The first trail is a loop trail covering 5.5-miles over crushed limestone that is relatively easy. If you choose to complete the second section of the trail, it is a little more challenging as it covers 2.9 miles of rustic terrain. Again, this is a loop trail. It will take just under three hours to complete both trails.
Knock Knolls Park Trail
The Knock Knolls Park Trail is a loop trail in the Dupage Recreation Area that is under three miles in length. It begins where the Dupage River splits into two rivers. On the first section of the trail, you will walk along the West Branch Dupage River and then cross to the East Branch Dupage River for your return. It is a moderate trail that takes most people a little more than an hour to complete.
Green Valley Forest
Three Best Rated includes the trials at Green Valley Forest amongst its selections of the best hiking trails in Naperville. There are 12 miles of crushed limestone trails in the forest, and each of the trails varies in length. Depending on the trail you choose, you may go through either prairie or wooded sections. Green Valley Forest covers 1,414 acres, and it is home to more than 540 native species. It is one of the most biologically diverse sites in the United States.
Hiking in the 465-acre McDowell Grove Forest Preserve in Illinois offers a varied experience and the opportunity to see water birds and to go fishing. There are approximately seven miles of trails to explore, and there are two picnic shelters where you can stop for a spot of lunch. McDowell Grove is also a popular spot for mountain biking.
Illinois Prairie Path- Aurora Branch
The Illinois Prairie Path is a huge trail running throughout Illinois that is divided into segments. The Aurora branch of the trail connects Aurora to the main trail. It begins on North Broadway in Aurora and finishes when it reaches the main trail in Wheaton. It is a point-to-point trail that covers almost 15 miles. This branch is predominantly an urban trail, although the section that runs along the river has nice views.
Illinois Prairie Path- Batavia Spur
Another great section of the Illinois Prairie Path to complete if you are visiting Naperville is the Batavia Spur. This section of the trail connects Batavia to the Aurora Branch of the path. It is an easy, seven-mil, point-to-point trail that is predominantly urban. The trail begins next to an intersection with the Fox River Trail. Then you will walk through various neighborhoods, corridors of trees, and along a river until you reach the junction with the Illinois Prairie Path- Aurora Branch. If you are an experienced walker, you may wish to continue along the Aurora Branch.
Danada-Herrick Regional Trail
The Danada-Herrick Regional Trail is an easy hike that is also enjoyed by runners and horse riders, says The Hiking Project. It is a mostly flat trail that is covered in limestone. The many wildflowers growing along the trail add to the pleasant experience of walking in this area. A section of the trail runs along a lake, so the trail has pretty lake views to enjoy.
If you just want to enjoy a short hike to appreciate the area, then the Meadowview Trail is a good option as it is under two miles long. It is an easy walk over level terrain, close to Lake Patterson. The end of the trail connects with the Lake Patterson trail, which runs for almost two miles around the lake's edge. Therefore, there is the option to extend your hike and complete both trails at the same time. Several other short trails sit between the Meadowview Trail and the Lake Patterson Trail, although many are more popular with mountain bikers.
Fox River Trail
Those who enjoy urban trails or walking along a river should consider the Fox River Trail. The trail begins in Aurora, just outside Naperville. It is a point-to-point trail that covers almost 40 miles, and it ends close to Algonquin. The entire trail runs along the Fox River. If this trail is too long for you, it is possible to start or finish your walk at various points along the way. You can enjoy various sections by walking out and back, and there are many parks along the way. It is a family-friendly option, and dogs are welcome if they are on a leash.
Virgil Gilman Trail
Although the Virgil Gilman Trail is an easy hike due to the level terrain, it is almost 12 miles long, which inexperienced hikers may find challenging. The trail runs through several forest preserve areas, by a lake, and along a section of the river. There are several parking areas along the trail, which gives you the option to choose your starting point and walk a shorter section of the trail if you prefer.
Written by Liz Flynn
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