Chicago is known for its Lakefront path, perhaps the best urban resource for runners in the country. But you’d be surprised how may off-road opportunities there are for runners who want to go off the beaten path.
The unquestioned go-to trail running destination is the Palos Trail System, which is located near the junction of I-55 and I-294 in the southwest suburbs.You’ll find nearly 25 miles of trails of varying degree of difficulty, with plenty of singletrack mixed in with some multiuse roads. This is the best place to truly take advantage of actual trail running, and it’s just a 30-minute ride from downtown—at least when there’s no traffic early mornings on the weekends. In the northern suburbs, the Deer Grove Forest Preserve features nearly 10 miles of off-road trails in addition to several miles of paved routes that have made this a popular escape. The Illinois Prairie Path is the gem of the western suburbs, with 62 miles of mostly crushed limestone trails that connect more than a dozen municipalities.