Your dog knows what it means when he hears “W-A-L-K,” but what the heck is “S-N-O-W-S-H-O-E-I-N-G?” Snowshoes strap onto your shoes and help distribute the weight over a larger area so you don’t sink into the snow. Since pupper will never pass up a chance at a walk (even if it looks like you have tennis rackets strapped to your feet), check out these spots for dog-friendly snowshoeing in Chicago.
P.S. We recommend snowshoeing when there’s at least 4 inches of snow on the ground. Also, you may want to check out some doggo booties if the snow’s gonna be that deep.
1. Palos Trail System
The Palos Trail System has already gotten a shoutout as one of our 6 favorite places to hike with your dog in Chicago, but what can you do when this is the perfect spot for everything? The trail system has wide paths, varying difficulties and inclines, and gorgeous views when the snow falls.
2. Waukegan Savanna
This northern suburb–just a Chuckit! Ball throw away from the Wisconsin border–isn’t just a great place for snowshoeing, it’s also the only spot in the Chicago metro with a dedicated area for mushing, competitive dog sledding, and skijoring. If your dog doesn’t show an aptitude for any of these winter dog sports, this park is also home to an 11-acre off-leash dog park so you can still enjoy the snow.
3. Blackwell Forest Preserve
Snowshoeing is already a workout, so no need to throw incline into the mix to make it even harder. Blackwell Forest Preserve is pretty flat, so these trails are great for beginners and dogs who are here for some whimsical snow vibes, not a climb up Mount Olympup. The base at Blackwell Forest Preserve even offers snowshoe rentals if you just want to try it out. This location also has a few trails open for dog sledding if that’s more your speed, as well as a huge off-leash dog area.
4. Bunker Hill
Part of the ever popular North Branch Trail, Bunker Hill has plenty of grassy lawns next to the wide, paved bike trails that you can follow. This forest preserve is nearly all flat, and pup is almost guaranteed to see some deer while out here (which are kinda just lanky dogs, if you ask us).
5. Indiana Dunes
Cross the border into Indiana to check out the Indiana Dunes National Park. It’s more popular as a summer spot with its great location next to Lake Michigan, but that just means there’s probably less people out to see you eat it the first time you try snowshoeing (just kidding, you’ll be amazing). There are over 15 miles of trails for your pup to sniff, so strap on your shoes and head out!
What’s your pup’s favorite winter sport? Drop a comment below and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram with #SidewalkDog so we can ruv all of your snowy adventures.
Featured photo: Hari Nandakumar
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join our Dog-Friendly Chicago Facebook Group.