Five Outdoor Adventures Close to Chicago
Last Updated: 4/1/2014
Things to do Near Chicago
The days are getting longer and the polar vortex is a distant memory. Spring is coming, and as all Midwesterners know, that means it’s time to start spending as much time as possible outside. Wisconsin offers a variety of outdoor adventures within a mere two hours from Chicago that will make the big city feel days away.
With more than nine miles of hiking and biking trails winding through their forest as well as The Hawk’s Nest High Ropes Course, Lake Geneva Canopy Tours are designed to appeal to everyone. Their unique zip lining eco-adventure teaches you about the flora, fauna and local history while you traverse across eight zip lines, five sky bridges, and four spiral staircases – all in addition to the thrill of soaring from tree to tree!
This multi-use recreation area has it all – from mountain biking and ATV trails to camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing, birding, hiking and horseback riding. The park also includes a “Special Use Zone” to participate in flying model airplanes, launching rockets, hang gliding, hot air balloon rides and even falconry. With more than 4,500 acres, it’s a great place to explore rolling grassland, savanna, wetlands and woods.
Take a scenic and relaxing ride on horseback through the Kettle Moraine. With options for a 1-hour or 3-hour adventure, a guide will take you into a pine forest where you’ll encounter a variety of terrains from winding paths to sloping passages and inclines. The 3-hour ride even makes a stop at a local saloon in Eagle so you can try the beer they have on tap or quench your thirst with a soda while sharing your experiences with one another.
For nature enthusiasts, this private sanctuary and arboretum provides 40 acres of assorted landscape. There are two miles of hiking trails that wind through the woods of the Pike River Valley, as well as a 12-acre arboretum, a variety of gardens, and three historic buildings to tour. Hawthorn Hollow offers numerous opportunities to learn about the importance of preserving our natural surroundings while soaking in the peacefulness of the prairielands.
Nestled in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, the park’s 17 miles of trails provide excellent hiking, backpacking and mountain biking. The main attraction is a 45-foot observation tower atop the highest point in Waukesha County. When you’re ready to take a break from climbing the glacial landforms, you can relax at one of the three picnic areas or visit the SummerStage, an outdoor venue situated in a natural amphitheater that offers music, theater and dance performances.This entry was posted in Trails and Hiking