The following article was compiled by Sara Franko of FIT4MOM Chicago Western Suburbs and Becca Barto, who offers FIT4MOM classes in Geneva Batavia and St. Charles. Check out their respective websites for info on the wide variety of classes they offer. — Tara
Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to break out the jogging stroller and take our workouts (and our kids) outside. These running paths and trails in the western suburbs of Chicago offer the perfect antidote to a long winter cooped up in the house. So grab your baby and your running buddy, and check out some of these options for stroller-friendly running in the western suburbs.
1. Hidden Lake in Downers Grove
Aptly named, Hidden Lake Forest Preserve is located off Route 53 and Butterfield Road. The limestone trails loop two serene lakes and cross over the east branch of the DuPage River.
- The path: The two connected loops provide runners with more than two miles of flat, stroller-friendly trails — one will take you around Round Meadows Lake; the other around Eagle Lake.
- Parking situation: Two parking lots are available off Route 53.
- Bonus: Fit4Mom will be there on Saturday mornings in late March, April and early May training for the Run Like a Mother 5K in Hinsdale on Mother’s Day. Join our team (all levels, including beginning runners, are welcome) and meet other running mamas.
2. Waterfall Glen in Darien
Waterfall Glen, part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, offers 11 miles of trail near Argonne National Laboratory. The entrance to the running trail is located off Cass Avenue and Northgate Road near I-55.
- The path: A perfect spot for scenic long runs, the natural path has some rolling hills and is bit more difficult if you are running with a stroller — but we’ve seen plenty of moms do it!
- Parking situation: There is a good-sized lot, but it gets crowded on weekends with runners and bikers enjoying the trail. If the lot is full, parking is permitted on Northgate Road.
- Bonus: The path has mile markers and a bathroom at the entrance.
3. Illinois Prairie Path in Elmhurst
The Illinois Prairie Path starts in Maywood and includes 61 miles of trail that branches off toward Aurora, Geneva and Elgin. The five-mile stretch through Elmhurst can be accessed near the intersection of York Road and Vallette Street.
- The path: The crushed limestone trail is flat through Elmhurst, suitable for strollers, and accessible from residential areas and business districts.
- Parking situation: Use the parking lot off of Vallette and Division streets (near York Road). Just keep in mind that the lot has a two-hour limit. You also can find parking on nearby residential streets.
- Bonus: Through Elmhurst, you’ll find the path to be scenic, but not secluded.
4. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle
With more than nine miles of trails surrounded by picturesque scenery, the Morton Arboretum should be on every runner’s must-do list. If you’re not a member, admission from April through October is $14 for adults, $9 for kids over 2, and free for under 2. Runners also have access to the visitor center’s bathrooms and lockers.
- The path: Morton Arboretum’s paths are paved with two loops to choose from — a 4.5-mile loop and a three-mile loop. The varied terrain can be a challenge, but it’s doable with a stroller and the view makes it worthwhile.
- Parking situation: Plenty of parking, which is free with the cost of admission or membership.
- Bonus: After your run, take your kids to the Children’s Garden, which opens daily at 9:30 a.m.
5. Springbrook Prairie in Naperville
The Naperville Running Company gave us the heads up about this south Naperville running path (bookmark their helpful resources page where they’ve mapped out other local running routes). There are two entrances to Springbrook Prairie — one off Plainfield-Naperville Road and one off 83rd Street.
- The path: Flat, picturesque and wide enough for two strollers, this limestone path offers a 5.5-mile loop. Shade is minimal, so make sure you wear a hat on sunny days.
- Parking situation: A main parking lot is available on the north side of 83rd Street. You can also park on the west side of Plainfield-Naperville Road.
- Bonus: There are two sets of bathrooms — near the 3.5 mile marker and the 5.5 mile marker — giving you the opportunity to stop mid-run.
6. Great Western Trail in St. Charles
- The path: Fourteen miles of flat, mostly crushed limestone path is used by runners, walkers and bikers.
- Parking situation: A lot is available off Dean Street/Route 53 between Peck and Bittersweet roads.
- Bonus: An adjacent trail is used for horseback riding, so you may be able to thrill your little one with a horse sighting while out on your run.
7. Peck Farm in Geneva
The 350-acre grounds that make up Peck Farm are part of the Geneva Park District and include sports fields, a playground, trails and more.
- The path: Two paved loops are available for running — one is 2.4 miles; the other is 1.4 miles.
- Parking situation: There is a main parking lot, plus two additional lots near the soccer fields.
- Bonus: If you’re running with your kids, you won’t want to miss Hawk’s Hallow, a natural playground, or the Butterfly House, which are both on the grounds of Peck Park.
8. Ehlert Park in Brookfield
Looping through soccer fields and baseball diamonds, the jogging path at Ehlert park is perfect for your shorter stroller runs. You can find the park located at Congress Park and Elm avenues.
- The path: The figure-eight shaped path is paved, flat and just about 3/4 of a mile.
- Parking situation: Three parking lots are available.
- Bonus: There’s a playground and a splash pad as well as several covered picnic areas. Tell your running buddy to meet you at the jet that is on display — you can’t miss it.
Is your favorite running spot listed here, or do you know of other not-to-be-missed paths in the western suburbs of Chicago? Share your recommendations with us in the comments or on Facebook.