A Little Time and a Keyboard: Top Places to Snowshoe in the Chicago Suburbs

Top Places to Snowshoe in the Chicago Suburbs

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Snowshoeing  in the Chicago suburbs where you can rent snowshoes

A snow wonderland is here in Chicago! I love snowshoeing in our preserves. Just something about the stillness while hearing the crunching under your feet is calming. Good thing we have plenty of places in the Chicago suburbs to snowshoe! Here are some ideas! **When planning a snowshoeing adventure, remember to bring your driver's license because you may have to leave it while renting. Also, call ahead to verify availability.** Snowshoeing does require between 4"-6" of snow on the trails and the required amount may vary by preserve.

Where You Can Rent Snowshoes in the Chicago Suburbs:

Springbrook Nature Center in Itasca: Springbrook Nature Center not only has trails but also has snowshoes for rent. There must be at least 3 inches of snow on the ground for snowshoeing.  Snowshoes are rented Saturday and Sunday 11AM-3:30PM and cost $5 per person. You will need a driver's license, school id, etc.

Red Oak Nature Center in Batavia: Red Oak Nature Center is located on the Fox River in Batavia. You can rent snowshoes there for $5 per person from 10AM-3PM on weekends and 9AM-4:30PM on week days anytime there is 3 inches of snow. Poles are also available.

Forest Preserves of Cook County: All of the Nature Centers have snowshoes available with the exception of Sagawau (Sagawau does have ski equipment for rent for cross country skiing). Check the Forest Preserves of Cook County website for special snowshoe events. You may need to register for these events. 4" of snow on the ground is required for snowshoeing. 

Spring Valley Nature Center: Spring Valley Nature Center has snowshoes available for rent when there is at least 4" of snow on the ground. Rentals are $5 per person for a maximum of 3 hours per day. They are available 9AM-3PM and must be back by 4:30PM. Driver's License or a form of ID required. Rentals start December 1.

Plank Road Taproom in Elgin: Plank Road Taproom rents snowshoes and has two trails on their property to enjoy. $25 for snowshoe and pole rental, access to trails and a fireside beer. For those 21+. $15 for BYO snowshoes and fireside beer. Must make reservation.

Barlett Nature Center: Rentals available when there is at least 2" of snow on the ground. $5 pp. Monday - Friday 9AM-2PM, must return by 4PM. Saturday 9AM-11AM, must return by 12PM.

Morton Arboretum in Lisle: The Morton Arboretum has snowshoes for rent when there is an accumulation of at 4" of snow. Snowshoe rentals are available January 13 -March 24. Rentals are available at Visitor's Center on weekdays 10AM-4PM and weekends 9AM-4PM. Last rental is at 3PM.  It is recommended that you call to verify availability first. Rentals are through a 3rd party vendor, so credit card payment is necessary. **Please note that you currently must reserve timed entry to the Morton Arboretum.**

Lincoln Marsh in Wheaton: Lincoln Marsh has weekday rentals of snowshoes for $7 for 3 hours. Rentals are available 8AM-3PM. Weekend rentals are $15 checking out at 4PM Friday through Monday 10AM. A waiver is required. Snowshoes must not leave the property. Please not that 24-hours notice reservation are required, there is no drop-in rental.

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center: This St. Charles preserve rents snowshoes for $5 pp. Please call ahead for availability. (630) 513-4399

Lyman Woods Nature Center in Downers Grove: Lyman Woods has snowshoes for rent for a 3-hour period for $10 per person. The nature center also updates on trail conditions so you will know if snowshoeing is welcome on the trails.

Lake Katherine in Palos Heights: Lake Katherine rents out snowshoes for $6 per person per hour with a minimum of one hour. Rentals are Monday-Saturday 10AM-3PM, last rental at 1:45PM. Snowshoes are available December through March. See Facebook page for more details.

Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville: Blackwell Forest Preserve not only has snowshoeing but also a hill for tubing. Two in one! The hill is open 9AM-4PM on Saturdays and Sundays December through February and school holidays. Tube rental is $10 per tube per day. 3" of snow on the ground is needed Snowshoe rental is $10 per person per 2 hours, $15 per day. Snowshoe rental ends at 2PM, tube rental at 3:30PM. Snowshoe rental is available December through February.

Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook: Fullersburg Woods Education Nature Center has snowshoe rentals 10AM-2PM daily. Snowshoe rental is $10 per person per 2 hours, $15 per day. Call  630-850-8110  for availability.

Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Crete: Goodenow Grove rents snowshoes from Plum Creek Nature Center. Rentals are $15 per person per day for adults and require a valid driver's license or state ID. Renters must be 18-years-old or older.

Kane County Forest Preserves: Kane County Forest Preserves has a variety of snowshoeing programs at a number of preserves, check with the website for the latest details and offerings. Each event is $25 per person and includes rental. Snowshoeing is welcome on the trails in the Kane County Forest Preserves with 4 inches of snow.

Glacial Park Conservation Area in Ringwood: Lost Valley Nature Center at Glacial Conservation Center rents out snowshoes if there is 5" of snow or more. Rentals are $10 per day and require a driver's license and $20 cash deposit. Rentals start at 10AM and end at 2:30PM, nature center closing at 4PM. Call ahead to check availability.

Pringle Nature Center: The Kenosha area preserve rents snowshoes for $5 pp and free for members. They may only be used on the trails at Bristol Woods and returned by 3:30 P.M. 

Places to Rent Snowshoes in the Chicago Suburbs

Snowshoeing is welcome at many of our forest preserves. If you would like to rent some to check out other locations, here are some options:

REI in Vernon Hills: REI has snowshoe rentals and holds a variety of snowshoeing events and trips in the area. Please check website for further details.

Mill Race Cyclery in Geneva: Mill Race Cyclery has snowshoes for rent for wherever you are wandering! Contact cyclery for prices.

Evanston Ecology Center: Snowshoes are available for rent at the Evanston Ecology Center whether for exploring the nearby Ladd Arboretum or further afield. They will not be rented until there is 3 inches of snow on the ground. Available M-F, December - February 9AM-2:30PM. Must be returned by 4:30PM. $10 for 2 hour rental, $15 for 4 hour rental. EEA members free.

You can rent snowshoes at these locations. If you have your own, feel free to bring them along!

Tips for Snowshoeing in the Chicago Suburbs
  • Dress appropriately for the weather.
  • In general, there should be about 4" of snow on the ground.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Where sunscreen.
  • Pack a snack.
  • If renting snowshoes, check availability. Plus, be aware that you may need to leave your drivers license or an extra deposit to secure the rental.
  • Stay on the trails and be aware of sensitive areas where you should not be walking. Many of our preserves have sections at various stages of restoration, so be mindful of where to snowshoe.
  • Some preserves have special trails groomed for skiers and snowshoers. 

**Updated 11/17/18.**
**Updated 12/26/20**
**Updated 2/2/22**
**Updated 1/10/24**

Places to Snowshoe in the Chicago Suburbs

1 comment

  1. Oh wow! I was wanting to put together a list like this, but just couldn't squeeze it in my editorial calendar. So I'm double thrilled to find your post! Now to get out there and hike a few of these...!