Hiking Guide Gives New Meaning to ‘Rails to Trails’

In many ways, “Chicago Transit Hikes” is like any other trail guide on the market. It provides information on trail length, natural features and highlights, and difficulty level. Options range from short walks that are great for people with kids in strollers to multi-day backpacking adventures, and suggested itineraries even include routes for “the social media-inclined.” (Translation: The trails are “Instagrammable.”)

“I like to load 40 pounds onto my back and wander into the woods and that’s my idea of fun. But I understand that not everybody thinks that sounds like fun at all,” said author Lindsay Welbers. “So I tried to cast a very wide net. I tried to make it as accessible a document for as many people as possible.”

Where “Transit Hikes” differs from its counterparts is that each “trail head” is essentially a train station, be it the CTA, Metra or the South Shore Line.

Thirty stations serve as jumping-off points for all of the book’s hikes — some stations have multiple spinoffs — with Welbers providing directions on how to get from the transit hub to the nearest park or nature area, without using a car at any point in the process.

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