2015 Photo Contest Winner "People in the Preserves"- Steward Jim Voris walking during an early spring day, Galloping Hill Prairie in the Spring Creek forest preserve near Barrington, Jim Root
2015 Photo Contest Winner "People in the Preserves"- An early spring day, Galloping Hill Prairie in the Spring Creek forest preserve near Barrington, Jim Root

Sports and Recreation

We fight for the forest preserves so we all can enjoy them. From hiking to sledding to fishing, the forest preserves are waiting for you. Here are some of our suggestions for great recreational opportunities in the forest preserves of Cook County.

Hiking

Whether you’re hiking near home or exploring a new preserve, all hikes in the forest preserves of Cook County offer beautiful spots to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and if you are lucky, to see wildlife! To get the most of your hike bring water, snacks, and wear proper shoes and clothing. Please respect and follow forest preserve rules, and encourage others to do so too,  including: removing your garbage and leaving plants and animals where they are.

Top Five Hikes

Biking

More than 100 miles of paved, multi-use trails can be found throughout the county. Get out and enjoy nature while getting a little exercise.

Top Three Bike Trails Mountain Biking

Fishing

More than 40 Forest Preserve District lakes are managed for recreational sport fishing.

Fishing on 40 Lakes

Golf

Take your pick of ten courses, four driving ranges, or a miniature golf course, which are now maintained and run by Billy Casper Golf.

Top Three Golf Courses

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all official forest preserve trails and are a fun way to enjoy the preserves in the winter.

Top Three Ski and Snowshoe Trails

Sledding

The Forest Preserve District maintains some great sledding hills.

Top Sledding Spots

Horseback Riding

You don’t need to own a horse! Guided tours can be arranged from one of six stables that rent horses.

Horseback Riding in the Forest Preserves

Camping

There are currently five campsites in the forest preserves, each one offering different activities and unique lodging options.

 The Five Camp Sites in the forest preserves

A participant in our fishing derby event in partnership with Fishin' Buddies, part of a series of free recreation events in the Calumet region.
A participant in our fishing derby event in partnership with Fishin' Buddies, part of a series of free recreation events in the Calumet region.

Resources

Maps

Get the fine details on what’s in the preserves near you by downloading one of the District’s regional maps.

Northwest Cook County

North Cook County

Central Cook County

Southwest Cook County

South Cook County

Forest Preserves of Cook County

The Forest Preserves website has full details on all these recreational activities and where you can go throughout Cook County to enjoy nature.

More info