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Explore These Chicago Parks And Trails

Chicago is full of incredible parks and trails to explore. While the Lakefront Trail may be opening on June 22nd, summer is the perfect time to explore new running routes in neighborhoods around the city.

Check out this collection of local parks and trails.


NORTH SIDE:

Warren Park ('Go Run Site Location)

One of the largest parks on the North side, Warren Park features paved pathways throughout the parkland for running. Runners can enjoy several different loops and path offshoots around the park. View the map here.

Clark Park/River Trail ('Go Run Site Location)

An upcoming location for ‘Go Run, Clark Park offers a scenic route along the east bank of the Chicago River. For runners who also enjoy other outdoor activities, Clark Park is a premier location for rowers and kayakers. View the map here.

Horner Park ('Go Run Site Location)

The site of CARA and the Chicago Park Districts annual Horner Park Turkey Trot, the park is located at the major intersection of Montrose and California Avenues. Horner Park features plenty of green space and is adjacent to the North Branch of the Chicago River. View the map here.

River Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Located at the convergence of the Chicago River and canal, River Park offers both a track and paved paths for running. Runners can connect to the North Shore Channel trail to extend their runs. View the map here.

N. Shore Channel Trail

Connecting several great parks across the North side, the North Shore Channel Trail spans approximately 6.5 miles from the junction of Green Bay Road and McCormick Boulevard in northern Evanston to the junction of Lawrence Avenue and Francisco Avenue. View the map here.

Legion Park

This North side park flows through three neighborhoods - West Ridge, Lincoln Square, and North Park. Runners can use the paved path to connect to the North Shore Channel Trail and River Park for an extended route. View the map here.

North Park Village Nature Center

North Park Village Nature Center features a 46-acre nature preserve and educational facility. For runners looking to spend some time off the pavement, this nature area has dirt and woodchip paths. View the map here.

West Ridge Nature Park

This park is located on the edge of Rosehill Cemetery. Runners can enjoy a paved trail around the park, as well as boardwalks surrounding the pond. View the map here.

LaBagh Woods

A large forest preserve, LaBagh Woods features wooded landscapes, wetlands, savannas and sedge meadows. This preserve will also connect runner to the North Branch Trail system, which has both paved and unpaved trails. View the map here.

WEST SIDE:

Humboldt Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Humboldt Park features paved paths around the 197-acre space. Runners can enjoy the sights of the Humboldt Park lagoon (former home of “Chance the Gator”) and Little Cubs Field. View the map here.

Garfield Park ('Go Run Site Location)

This park sits adjacent to the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory. Paved paths offer runners several routes around this scenic park. View the map here.

Columbus Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Columbus Park is one of the few parks in the nation to be designated a National Historic Landmark in its entirety. Runners can enjoy paved paths around the green space and lagoon. View the map here.

Douglass Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Douglas is a historic regional park that offers many recreational and cultural opportunities for park patrons. In addition to park space and running paths, there is a nearby garden, golf course, and a track. View the map here.

Canalport Riverwalk Park

Canalport Riverwalk Park is a 5.14 acre park located in the Lower West Side community. This paved path runs alongside Bubbly Creek. View the map here.

McKinley Park

Located in the McKinley Park community area, adjacent to Brighton Park and Back of the Yards, McKinley Park totals 71.75 acres. Runners can enjoy paved paths around the park or McKinley Park Lagoon. View the map here.

Palmisano Park

Palmisano Park, formerly known as Stearns Quarry, is a 26.60-acre site on Chicago’s southwest side in the heart of the Bridgeport community. Palmisano Park features 1.7 miles of paths, including recycled timber boardwalks, concrete walks, a crushed stone running path. View the map here.

Ping Tom Memorial Park

Ping Tom Memorial Park's 17.44-acre site was originally a Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad yard located along the edge of the South Branch of the Chicago River in the Armour Square Community. The trail now follows the route along the water. View the map here.

SOUTH SIDE:

63rd Street Beach/Jackson Park ('Go Run Site Location)

One of our regular 'Go Run sites, 63rd Street Beach is situated in Jackson Park. Runners can enjoy multiple paved paths in this 551.52-acre park and a view of the lakefront. View the map here.

Big Marsh Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Big Marsh Park featured gravel trails, as well as paths along the marsh. This scenic park has several small bodies of water surrounding the green space, as well as dedicated eco-recreation areas. View the map here.

Marquette Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Located in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, Marquette Park totals 315.18 acres. Runners can enjoy a paved path along the Marquette Lagoon. View the map here.

Calumet Park ('Go Run Site Location)

Located next to Calumet Beach, runners can follow alongside the lakefront as they run through Calumet Park. In addition to the paved pathways around the park, there is also an outdoor running track for runners to utilize. View the map here.

Washington Park (‘Go Run Site Location)

A beautiful 345.67 acre park, Washington Park features a nature area, a lagoon, a Harvest Garden, and an arboretum. Runners can enjoy several paved paths within the park, as well as a 1.5 mile unpaved loop. View the map here.

Major Taylor Bike Trail Paths & Trails

Covering 6+ miles and named after legendary African American cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor, the Major Taylor Trail stretches from 81st St. on the north end to 134th St. on the south end. Runners can connect to Dan Ryan Woods and Whistler Woods through this trail also. View the map here.

Dan Ryan Woods

Connecting to the Major Taylor Bike Trail, runners can enjoy this paved path through the forest preserve. For runners looking for an extra challenge, check out the fitness stairs located near the visitor center. View the map here.

Avalon Park

Located in the Avalon community, Avalon Park totals 27.91 acres. Runners can enjoy a paved path around the park, or hop on the three-lane track around the basketball courts. View the map here.

Visiting one of these parks or another great running location in the city? Tag us in your pictures using #cararunschicago to share your favorite running spots!

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The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. We are Chicagoland’s running club, providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer. 

CARA, with over 10,000 members, is the nation’s third-largest running club, serving as the voice of local runners, as well as providing over 1,300 dates of programming and events per year.

 

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