Slip on your snowshoes and hike the trails near you in central Illinois
Snowshoeing is the ultimate winter activity your family can do literally anywhere – yes, even around Champaign-Urbana
No hills required, no road trip necessary and all the quiet time your family desires in nature during one of the most beautiful times of the year
Have you heard of snowshoeing? Imagine a super special winter walk with a few of your team when the snow has freshly fallen. Anywhere you might go for a walk or hike turns out to be a great place to try out snowshoeing. That being said, there are trails around Champaign-Urbana and beyond which we believe are a great place for family snowshoeing. (Don’t want to snowshoe? Go tobogganing instead. Or do both!)
Really, you can take a snowy hike without any extra “snow gear” beyond what you would wear for sledding. Boots, snow pants and all warm will have you covered. However, there’s a good chance you will be concerned about the ice and your adventure will be short-lived. Investing in a set of snowshoes and poles will ensure you are prepared for anything you might encounter on your trip. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this article for some ideas on what to pack for your snowshoe adventures.
If you’re new to sports, here’s a great guide to getting started – with kids too.
Where to snowshoe near Champaign-Urbana
You can snowshoe almost anywhere you would go for a walk! And we have a great choice of walking and hiking trails near Champaign-Urbana. (Remember the difference between our list of hiking trails and hiking trails – generally hiking trails are in town and hiking trails take you into the wilderness to forest reserves, state parks, etc. .)
Here are some of the best places to go snowshoeing in central Illinois:
- Buffalo Trace Prairie, Mahomet – Just steps from CU and just off I-74, the Buffalo Trace Prairie is adjacent to the Lake of the Woods Forest Reserve, located just across Highway 47 in Mahomet. You will find one of the trail entrances directly in front of the Lake of the Woods Botanical Gardens. The “five mile trails” offer great snowshoe trails, but be aware that it can be easy to turn around at Buffalo Trace, so try to choose a trail / path before heading out into the cold so you don’t not lose you.
- Allerton Park, Monticello – For some reason Allerton is a snow magnet. Bonus: see the sculptures.
- Kickapoo Rail Trail, Urbana to St. Joseph – The first 6.7 mile phase of the Kickapoo Rail Trail is a great option for snowshoeing. The entire 24 mile plus trail is not yet complete, but you can use the portions that are meant for a long, quiet snowshoeing experience – you won’t find many cyclists on the trail when the snow is snowy. is on the ground! (Note: snow melts quickly onto the pavement, so it may be short lived; or snowshoe on the side.)
- Weldon Springs, Clinton – With cross-country ski trails listed on their park map, Weldon Springs is a fantastic place to venture out for snowshoeing. The snow trail takes you far from the heart of the park and loops along a stream. You are bound to see a lot of wildlife on your hike in Weldon Springs.
- Moraine View, LeRoy – Moraine Views is full of opportunities for winter sports and many residents of central Illinois head there to cross-country ski, snowshoe, and even snowmobile around the lake (so watch out for snowmobiles).
Snowshoes fit boots, so you’re going to be buying rackets that cover a range of sizes. That’s good because you can buy, say, two sets of gear but change who uses them (depending on the age of your crew, of course). Start small and make sure it’s something you really enjoy doing. We think buying two sets is reasonable if you are new to snowshoeing. Unfortunately, snowshoeing equipment is hard to find at a local business, but available online.
If you are looking for warm winter clothes we recommend you visit Champaign Outdoors or RuggedOutdoors.com – buy local!
To note: The links below are affiliate links and are only suggestions when deciding what to buy in terms of racket equipment. chambanamoms.com earns a small commission on purchases through these links. Thank you for supporting our small business.
The whole package
Snowshoes and poles for men, women, youth and children, Amazon
The best seller on Amazon for snowshoes, this set seems to cover it all. They have a handy size guide to help you decide what size snowshoes to order from the list. As far as we know, this is the complete package when it comes to getting started with snowshoes.
Less than $ 100
Junior snowshoes (without poles), Amazon
For your big kid who is going to have “real” rackets, you may not be ready to give them poles yet. This set of legitimate rackets continue to sell on Amazon, which tells us that they can live up to the hype and be a good set to try!
Less than $ 40
Adjustable trekking poles (no snowshoes), Amazon
If you want to gain stability on your snow adventures, but don’t want to buy snowshoes as a set, you might want to get a set of hiking poles.
Snowshoes for children, Amazon
Made from molded plastic and with no sticks or anything included, they are recommended for young children who want to try their hand at snowshoeing.
Earlier this winter, we spotted snowshoe sets at a bargain at Costco for $ 69. We don’t know how long they’ll be there, so check them out when you get the chance!