Finding great, scenic dog walking routes in Naperville is something we’re always sniffing around for. While Sherlock’s nose is to the ground (searching for squirrel clues, of course!), it’s a treat for parents to take in such sights as unique architecture, local history, or beautiful natural landscapes. Our paws have done some walkin’, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite routes across town for you and your pups to check out!
- Naperville Riverwalk: The Naperville Riverwalk was created in 1981 as a permanent commemorative to honor Naperville’s 150th anniversary. Considered the “crown jewel” of Naperville, the Riverwalk is a place of beauty and tranquility along the West Branch of the DuPage River. It features 1.75 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, meeting and event places, outdoor sculpture and artwork, recreational facilities, and celebratory memorials. The Riverwalk is a preferred destination and an ideal place to stroll, unwind, and reflect. Come relax and enjoy the scene. The Riverwalk is dog-friendly and has plenty of fun for all.
- Green Valley Forest Preserve: Over three-quarters of Greene Valley’s 12 miles of marked trails are open to hikers, bicyclers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. A beautiful area with an extensive plant list — over 540 native species — makes the 1,414-acre Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville one of the county’s most botanically diverse sites. Within the high-quality oak woodland north of 79th Street, an area one former owner set aside for plant and animal conservation more than 50 years ago, native wildflowers provide spectacular spring displays. This Trail Guide and Parking Map is helpful!
- Tree Trek Trail: Tree Trek is a 1-mile self-guided hike. Signs along the path point out 11 different trees and give descriptions of their bark, seeds and leaves. For information on how to get started, visit the information sign south of the Thunderbird Road parking lot.
- Off-Leash Dog Area: Dogs with valid Forest Preserve District permits can enjoy Greene Valley’s fully fenced, 16-acre off-leash area, which features a separate section for dogs under 25 pounds. Owners should call Visitor Services Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (630) 933-7248 for permit applications and information.
- Illinois Prairie Path: May Theilgaard Watts, a naturalist retired from the Morton Arboretum, had a dream. She had walked the footpaths of England and hiked the Appalachian Trail. She realized there was a golden opportunity to create something similar right here in the western suburbs.
The Illinois Prairie Path is a multi-use nature trail for non-motorized public use. It spans approximately 61 miles in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties in northeasten Illinois. A former right-of-way for the old Chicago Aurora & Elgin electric railroad, it was the first U.S. rail-to-trail conversion in the nation in the 1960’s. The Path is filled with dog friendly trails and is surfaced primarily with a crushed limestone surface, which is easy on feet and bike tires alike, and sheds water quickly following rainfall.