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10 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Illinois (2024 Update)

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

dog on a leash hiking with owner

Many people may not think of Illinois as a state with many hiking trails. However, you can find a ton of popular hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty all throughout the state. Many of these hiking trails are dog-friendly, as long as your dog is leashed at all times. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Illinois that you can visit with your dog.

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The 10 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Illinois

1.Β  Allerton Park & Retreat Center

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“515 Old Timber Rd, Monticello, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • 1,500 acres of gardens, forests, prairies, and multiple hiking trails
  • Has easy, flat trails with unique sculptures and gardens
  • Family-friendly location with many events hosted year-round


2. Ferne Clyffe State Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from sunrise to sunset
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Known for unique plant communities and numerous ferns
  • Has 18 different trails with amazing views of rock formations
  • Spring and fall are the most colorful seasons and are recommended for visits
  • Many different kinds of campsites are available


3. Giant City State Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“235 Giant City Rd, Makanda, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 7:00 AM to dusk
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Popular dog-friendly hiking trail located within Shawnee National Forest
  • Known for massive sandstone structures
  • Be mindful of any horses on equestrian-friendly trails


4. Matthiessen State Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 7:00 AM to sunset
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Has 5 miles of trails of varying difficulty
  • Trails leading to the interiors of the two dells can be difficult to navigate in spring and early summer
  • No swimming, rock climbing, or metal detecting allowed
  • Park violation fines begin at $195


5. Rim Rock National Recreational Trail

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“Eagle Creek, RR 1 Box 198B, Findlay, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Hiker-only trail that only allows leashed pets
  • Parts of trails may be blocked due to weather, so make sure to check the website for the latest updates
  • No trash receptacles are located along the trail


6. Rock Cut State Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“7223 West Lane Rd, Caledonia, IL
πŸ• Open Times: November – March from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; April – October from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • The entire park is over 3,000 acres with two lakes
  • A popular location for horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and fishing
  • Beware of wildlife, including deer, foxes, opossums, and raccoons


7. Schiller Woods

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“N Cook County, Chicago, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from sunrise to sunset
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Conveniently located in the Chicago suburbs
  • Beware of deer and ticks
  • Fishing is allowed in the pond but no swimming is allowed


8. Shawnee National Forest

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“Herod, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Sunrise to Sunset from May to October
πŸ’² Cost: No entrance fee; $5 vehicle fee
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Over 289,000 acres of forests, canyons, wetlands, and razorback ridges
  • Has multiple trails with varying levels of difficulty
  • Many dog-friendly lodging sites in the surrounding area


9. Starved Rock National Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“2668 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 7:00 AM to sunset
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

  • Trails have canyons, waterfalls, and other scenic views along the way
  • Activity permits are required for groups of 20 or more
  • Can get very crowded during the summer months
  • A popular location for families with young children


10. West Street Sculpture Park

πŸ—ΊοΈ Address: πŸ“620 S W St, Galena, IL
πŸ• Open Times: Year-round from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
πŸ’² Cost: Free
πŸ• Off-leash allowed? No

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Conclusion

Hiking is a great way to exercise and have bonding time with your dog. Fortunately, Illinois has plenty of fun and scenic hiking trails that are waiting to be explored. Just make sure that your dog is leashed at all times to keep them safe and protect the surrounding wildlife. Following hiking trail rules will ensure that dogs will continue to be allowed on-site and enjoy many outdoor adventures with their families.

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Featured Image Credit: N K, Shutterstock

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