Best Fall Color Hikes and Scenic Overlooks Around Chicago

Want to enjoy the local Fall Foliage?
Chicago suburbs offer a ton of opportunities for the fall foliage aficionados who opt for a near-by stroll over a road trip. 

2022 Foliage at Herrick Lake

When is the peak this year for Chicago area? 
Oct 17 – Oct 24.

Where is my fall foliage prediction map?
Check out the widely followed national Fall Foliage prediction map here.

Scenic Overlooks

1. Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve
Warrenville, South-Western Chicago suburb
Set your GPS at the nearest parking lot here

A gentle ascend from the parking lot to the Mount Hoy will make you privy to one of the best panoramic fall foliage views around the Chicago area. Blackwell has a ton of other festivities as well, check out the full post here.

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Atop Mount Hoy (Dupageforest)

2. Greene Valley Scenic Overlook
Bolingbrook, South-Western Chicago suburb
Set your GPS here

Lo and Behold, the 190 ft. scenic Greene Valley overlook is not only the highest point in DuPage county area, but the bird’s eye view could also be used to gaze the Chicago skyline from Bolingbrook!

There is no hike or climb needed at all, you park your car right to the top of the overlook.

Muted colors on Oct 15, 2022

Gaze Chicago skyline, right from Naperville!

Tip: The overlook is only open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 6 PM from May through Oct. 30.

3. Holy Hill Basilica
Hubertus, Wisconsin
Set your GPS here

Holy Hill basilica is quite a novelty – a religious shrine perched atop a picturesque hill, drawing thousands of Fall Foliage lovers every year. 

Check here to see the live view from the scenic tower.

The majestic views at Holy Hill

Tip: The scenic tower is only specific for a specific time. Check the hours here.

Fall Foliage Trails

1. Morton Arboretum
Lisle, South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

There are more than 4000 varieties of trees in Morton; the expansiveness of the arboretum makes it an extremely noteworthy choice for all to wander around and soak in the leafage. 

Check out the latest fall color report for the arboretum here.

One of the most photographed tree at Morton, Courtesy: Vikas

If you have not been to Morton, you could pay a visit just for its awe-inspiring Human-Nature exhibitions.

Basilica (Morton

Heartwood (Morton

Tip: Please be aware to buy the timed-entry admission tickets here before heading out to the arboretum.

2. Herrick Lake
South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

Over 7 miles of stunning trails along with fishing and boating facilities in the lake. The half-mile walk around the lake is absolutely blissful during Fall season. The hikes cut through much acclaimed Danada-Herrick Regional Trail.

As seen on the Lake Trail on Oct 22, 2022

Lake Trail studded with fall colors

3. Waterfall Glen
South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

Another widely famed fall color hiking and biking spot flocked by people looking for a soothing hike among the opulent foliage. The loop is around 9 miles and boasts of a small waterfall too. It has 3 parking lots – main entrance, Rocky Glen Parking Lot and the one near Lemon temple. 

Parking Tip: Rocky Glen Parking Lot is of closest proximity to the waterfall. Note that the parking could be a pain on weekends. 

Waterfall Glen on Oct 10, 2020

4. Maple Grove
Downers Grove, South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

The eponymous Maple Grove park is an ancient maple forest and shimmers during the Fall season. The main 1.5-mile trail is a great option for those looking for a quick in-and-out with great photo-ops.

A serene sunset, as seen on Oct 28, 2022

PXL_20221029_224005556 (1)
A picture perfect creek running through the preserve

5. Lake Katherine
Palos Heights, South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

Lake Katherine is another great option, the mile-long hike is accentuated by a canopy of trees, making it a great destination for calming stroll. It’s not everywhere that you are greeted by swans instead of ducks and geese around the lake.

A mile long hike on a mulched trail at Lake Katherine

Find the other recommended hiking/biking trails in the Palos Trail system here.

6. Knoch Knolls 
Naperville, South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

A huge hit amount Naperville and near-by residents, Knoch Knolls offers it all – scenic trails, bridge over a river, biking paths, free-for-all 18-hole disc golf course, nature center for kids, ankle deep water and kids playing area. 

For fall (or other seasons for that matter), my favorite trail is the dashed walking path running besides the west branch of DuPage river. You just need to take right immediately after the bridge continue going until you hit the converging point. This is about a 2-mile out and back hike.


Check out the full blog here.

The picturesque Knock Knolls bridge (

The crown of the trees losing their green, Oct 16, 2022

Fall colors before the peak, Oct 16, 2022

7. Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve
South-Western Chicago suburb.
Set your GPS here

The Goodenow Grove provides a perfect vantage point to quench your foliage peeping desire. It boasts of a big wooden bridge on the Plum Creek Greenway Trail which offers a diverse view of the surroundings. The adjoining Plum Creek Nature Center has bird feeders which attract a plethora of birds for the visitors to gaze. Overall, a preserve which is strongly recommended – Fall colors or not.

The iconic bridge serving as a vantage point (Chad Merda)

The peculiar sculpture park (made of recycled stuff) was a hit among all 

Check this to know more about my earlier visit there. 

8. Starved Rock State Park
100 miles, 2-hour drive from Chicago.

One of the most well-known state parks in the Chicago region, this should need no introduction. With 13 miles of trails and close proximity to Naperville, this would be one the best options for a day trip. Looks like the Fall Colors would peak around October 17 weekend this year. Considering the massive crowd Starved Rock draws each year, you gotta watch out.

22378693768_ae76db5fd6_kFall colors at Starved Rock (Gabe)

9. Matthiessen State Park
100 miles, 2-hour drive from Chicago.

This is a lesser know cousin of Starved Rock with slightly muted footfall since the primary attraction is the waterfall during the summer season (see my summer trip here) and not the fall colors. It has around 6 miles of hikes and exhibits great fall foliage. This might be a preferred option, especially if you are going to take on the Oct 17 weekend crowd (peak time for colors this year).

So, set your GPS here and enjoy.

2990760664_6a9dc02210_kFall Colors at Matthiessen (Pete)

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