It’s not “purple mountains majesty” for hiking, Jason King knows, but Illinois, Indiana and southern Wisconsin, are not without charm — they’re free, they’re close, their trails are uncongested and they offer a solace and beauty all their own.
“I love Illinois, I’ve lived here all my life. If you like simplicity, if you like the feel of the wind blowing through the trees … there’s no place better,” King said.
One of King’s favorite solo hikes to “get the world behind me” is about 90 minutes away from Chicago near Gary, Indiana, in the little-used western part of Indiana Dunes National Park. The Paul H. Douglas center is currently closed but the namesake trail (1) winds through Miller Woods and across the Grand Calumet River. It was named after the Illinois senator who helped make the Dunes a national park. It’s a moderately challenging 3.5 miles out and back, partly through sand dunes — which make it a workout.
King identified 19 other trails near Chicago that reporter Zachary Nauth listed in the article. Maybe next weekend? Cassie would probably love all of them.