Don’t worry Illinois. This arctic cold-snap is temporary. Soon the red-winged blackbirds will migrate back. Then warmer temps will bring spring flowers and fresh breezes off Lake Michigan. In the meantime, cuddle under a warm blanket and check out these six trips, a few are just a short drive from downtown Chicago.
#1: Chicago - Lincoln Park to Northbrook Velodrome (Road Biking)
Link Chicago's north side neighborhoods to the Northbrook Velodrome on this 44.7-mile urban loop that starts and ends at one of the Windy City's Lake Michigan beaches.
#2: Chicago - Waterfall Glen Loop (Mountain Biking)
Cruise ponds, marshes, a scenic view of the Des Plaines River, and a picnic-perfect waterfall on this rolling 10-mile loop through Chicago's Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.
#3: Chicago - Matthiessen State Park (Hiking)
A lush, green garden of waterfalls and giant pools awaits on the dells of Matthiessen State Park; this route tacks on a bluff-top viewpoint for 5.8-miles of prime Illinois day-hiking.
#4: Robert Allerton Park (Hiking)
Stop for a bluff-top look at the Sangamon River on this 4.1-miler that loops through lush forests in a designated National Natural Landmark—and one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois.
#5: Mount Vernon - Garden of the Gods (Hiking)
Loop past 230-million-year-old sandstone and into a moss-coated canyon on this 4.6-miler that follows a low-traffic trail in Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area.
#6: Beaver Dam Lake (Hiking)
Explore a 59-acre lake and get a bird's-eye view of a buzzing wetland on this 2.9-mile hike through an historic state park in central Illinois.
#7: Panther Den Loop (Hiking)
Explore ridges, evergreen forests, and odd rock formations on this 4.3-mile dayhike through the smallest wilderness in Shawnee National Forest.