I love the outdoors – running, biking, snowboarding, hiking, backpacking, camping, etc. But I really do enjoy hikes – It’s totally different than my computer-centric social city world I love. Now I’m sharing them with YOU. Note: I like harder stuff, especially ones where you get to climb a mountain.  Check out My Collections of Hiking Pictures on Flickr, as well as Hiking blogs.

And for newbies, check out REI’s day hiking checklist, REI’s backacking checklist or backpacking checklist from sports basement

Chicagoland Day Hikes

  1. Sag Valley Trails, Region 7 of Cook County Forest Preserves
  2. More Cook County Forest Preserves
  3. Dupage County Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
    • SW Chicago near 55/355, just west of Sag Valley
  4. Starved Rock State Park (my pics)
    • 2 hrs from Chicago, hike for 2-5 hrs,
    • optional: lodge, cabin, camping
  5. Kettle Moraine  John Muir Trail,
  6. More chicagoland hikes

Chicago Area Car Camping/Hiking/etc

  1. Devil’s Lake State Park, WI
    1. Where: north of Madison, 20 miles south of Wisconsin Dells, 3.5 hours from Chicago,
    2. When:  Camping year-round, swimming, rock-climbing, best in summer and fall
    3. Hiking: East Bluff Woods Trail, more to come ..
    4. Camping: Devil’s Lake (campsite pics) – Wheelers (2 miles) – Mirror Lake (15 miles) – [Family: Merry Mac’s, Nordic Pines]
    5. More – wikipedia – a guidestate park –  608-356-8301 chads pics
  2. Galena, IL – camping, historic town, river
  3. Buckhorn State Park
    1. Where: Castle Rock Lake, 4 hours north of Chicago (200+ miles)
    2. When: summer, fall
    3. Hiking: and kayaking, fishing, swimming
    4. Camping: Buckhorn (reservations) –
  4. Door County, Wisconsin
    • Where: Peninsula on Lake Michigan, 5+ hrs north of Chicago
    • When: April-October.
    • Desc: Cape Cod of the Midwest, lots of state parks and cherry orchards (info)
  5. Cohakia Mounds –  info, wikipedia, (just east of St. Louis, 5 hrs from Chicago)
  6. Kickapoo State Park (more)
  7. Wyalusing, Wisconsin, 4.5 hrs NW of Chicago (drive/camp place – wi.gov, bootsnall)
  8. Indian Dunes (state park, nat’l park)
    • 90 minutes from Chicago by car
    • day hikes, beach, up to 200 foot sand dunes
    • optional: walk-in camping, RV camping, etc
  9. Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan
  10. Kettle Moraine Area, Wisconsin
    1. Where: 2 hours north of Chicago
    2. When: summer
    3. Hiking:  and swimming
    4. Camping: State Forest (whitewater loop reservations, gmap); Scenic Ridge (private camping, gmap)
  11. Tubing / Canoeing / water stuff
    1. See http://midwestweekends.com/ask_a_question/river_tubing_near_chicago.html
  12. More …
    1. Where:
    2. When: summer, fall
    3. Hiking:
    4. Camping:

Chicago/Midwest Backpacking

  1. Isle Royale National Park (nps.gov)
    • Where: Island in Lake Superior, between Michigan and Canada
    • When: April-October, best in August (closed winter).
    • Hikes: 7-40 miles, canoeing, camping, raw wildlife backcountry(gorptrails.commoreinfo, )
    • Notes: no cars, biggest island in worlds’ largest freshwater lake, per acre backcountry use is the highest of all National Parks in the United States.
  2. Kettle Moraine  John Muir Trail,
    • 2 hrs from Chicago, La Grange WI
    • hikes from 1-10 miles (pdf)
    • MORE .. TBD

San Francisco Bay Area Day Hikes

  1. Mt. Tam – 30-45 min north of SF, many options (trail map)
    • 2-3 hour hike from Mtn Home Inn to East Peak via Fern Creek (more, pics)
    • 5 hour hike starting in Baltimore Canyon (pics)
  2. Muir Woods – just south of Mt. Tam, 30-45 min north of SF (hike info)
  3. Alamere Falls – about 2 hrs north of SF, hike then swim in Pelican Lake! (info, pics, google map)
  4. Sweeney Ridge – less than 30 min drive south from SF, 2-3 hour hike.
  5. Castle Rock – near Saratoga, about an hour south of SF (topo map, pics)
  6. Purisma Creek – 1-1.5 hrs south of SF, nature hike under trees on a hot day (pics, gps)
  7. Mt. Diablo – Highest Peak in the Bay Area (pics, gps)
  8. Tilden Park, Berkeley – casual hiking, 1-3 hours (map, pics)
  9. Mt. Carmel – about 3 hr south of SF, hearty 10 mile roundtrip, 4-7 hours (blog, pics)
  10. Angel Island – Island in SF Bay, 20min ferry from SF/Tiburon, easy hiking and camping (map, pics)
  11. More Ideas:

Northern California Hiking/Backpacking Trips

  1. Sykes Hot Springs (blog, my pics, gps map)
    • Where: about 3 hr south of SF – Big Sur, 28 miles south of Carmel CA.
    • When: year round, crowded on summer weekends
    • Trip: 20 Miles total, 2-3 days
  2. Pinnacles National Monument
    • Where: 2-3 hours south of SF, 30 miles south of Holister. map
    • When: year round, but really hot in the summer/fall,
    • Trip: Car camping and day hikes, rock climbing. Desert (temp) park info, park map, my pics,
  3. Trinity Alps (5 hrs north of SF)
    • Granite Lake (pics)
    • or Coffee Creek up to Caribou Lakes.
  4. Sierras: Yosemite (4 hrs east of SF)
    • Where: about 4-6 hours east of SF, South of Lake Tahoe
    • When: late Spring, Summer and Fall
    • Notes: One of the most popular parks in the country, can be crowded.
    • Many options for trips, 2-
  5. Sierras: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park (nps.gov)
    • Where: about 4-6 hours east of SF, South of Lake Tahoe
    • When: Summer and Fall
    • Notes: Just south of Yosemite, Similar beauty but less crowded. Campfires allowed usually.
    • Many options for trips, 2-6 days
  6. Sierras: Desolation Wilderness
    • Where: South Lake Tahoe, 4 hrs from SF, Horsetail Falls good.
    • When: Summer, Fall
    • Notes: No campfires.  Beautiful, Popular, need permits for camping. More.
  7. Lost Coast
  8. Snow Mountain Wilderness
    • Where: <4 hours north of SF
    • When: Summer, Fall
  9. More:


  1. Various activities across USA