You Can Now Hike Around the Entire City of Chicago on One Awesome Trail

Last summer, a group of intrepid local hikers discovered a way to hike around the entire Chicago metro area in one go. It’s called the Chicago Outerbelt, an uninterrupted 210-mile nature trail that pieces together existing forest preserves and park land into one contiguous loop. With highlights along the trail ranging from scenic lakes and rustic campsites to forested woodlands and lakefront beaches, let no one ever tell you again that there’s no such thing as nature in Chicago. You just gotta know where to find it.

Simply put, the Chicago Outerbelt is a trail that connects some of the best nature surrounding the city. It extends from Downtown’s Buckingham Fountain to the south suburbs, west to the Des Plaines River Trail, up north to Lake County, and finally back south along the Chicago lakefront. Primarily it consists of municipal properties pieced together for the first time – like the Cook County Forest Preserve District, Chicago Park District, and Lake County Forest Preserves.

“You just get this weird combination of green space and rolling hills and then you pop out and you can have a beer at Imperial Oak,” says REI outdoor programs coordinator Emily Leu, who was one of the first to hike the full trail with a small group of urban hiking explorers over two weeks last summer. “You get the best of both worlds.”

Along the Outerbelt, you’ll see a vast cross-section of wildlife including deer, herons, egrets, eagles, hawks, frogs, toads, and fish. The only dangers you’re likely to encounter are some poison ivy, a few bug bites, and maybe a little sunburn.

Read full story…


Similar Posts: