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9 places to walk around Lansing

Spending time outdoors helps maintain mental wellness during the stay-at-home order

by Carrie Steinweg

LANSING, Ill. (April 3, 2020) – We’ve all been spending a lot of time inside these days. Some of us are on our third week of social distancing, with several more weeks likely ahead. While staying far away from others is what’s good for physical health at the moment, not getting outdoors at all can negatively impact your mental health.

Jean Lubeckis, LMHC, LCPC FEAP Therapist with Franciscan Health is a big advocate of spending time outdoors to create a good sense of mental well-being. “Being outdoors improves mood and improves your focus,” said Lubeckis. “I often ride my bike to work in nice weather, and I can tell you for a fact that I am upbeat, energized, and think positively when I arrive. It is noticeably different than exercising at home or in the gym and then driving to work.”

If you’re feeling down during this quarantine, Lubeckis suggests taking a break from electronics and talking a walk. “Be more mindful of the beauty around us. I took a walk at lunch today and paid close attention to the beautiful blue sky, white clouds, and sun. I felt the breeze, and all that mattered was I was alone with myself in a safe and beautiful space. It is a great way to take a break from COVID-19.” Just remember to stay 6 feet apart even while you’re outside on the trails.

Lansing and neighboring towns offer plenty of places to get outdoors for some fresh air and a walk. Here are photos and descriptions of 9:

1. Lansing Woods (186th Street east of Torrence)

Part of the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Thorn Creek Trail System, this paved path has a bridge that crosses the creek and some pretty wooded scenery.

A sign at the trail entrance on 186th includes a map and distances. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Thorn Creek Trail offers different types of beauty during different seasons. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
Sunrise and sunset can be beautiful times for a walk along Thorn Creek Trail. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

2. Pennsy Greenway

The Pennsy Greenway is a rail trail that runs from Calumet City into Schererville, measuring over 9 miles. Use it for walking or bicycling—there are several access points within Lansing.

In downtown Lansing, the Pennsy Greenway can be accessed near the Clock Tower. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
North of the interstate, the Pennsy Greenway can be accessed from Bernice Road and continues all the way to Calumet City. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

3. North Creek Meadow (Glenwood-Lansing Road west of Torrence)

Take a walk on this paved trail that is also part of the Thorn Creek Trail System and keep your eyes peeled for deer and other wildlife.

The path through North Creek Meadow offers a beautiful nature walk. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

4. Wampum Lake (Thornton-Lansing Road, west of I-394)

While there’s no paved walking trail here, a lap around the large parking lot is 3/4 of a mile. Take your lunch there and eat at one of the picnic benches (bring disinfectant wipes and a tablecloth) while you watch the geese and ducks in the lake or do some fishing.

The picnic tables at Wampum Lake offer a view of the lake. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
The historical marker at Wampum Lake mentions the various tribes who lived in the area and the artifacts that have been found. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

5. Sweet Woods (183rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, Glenwood)

Sweet Woods is part of the Thorn Creek Trail System, which runs through Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Glenwood, Lansing, Lynwood, Park Forest, and South Holland.

The paved path through Sweet Woods provides a fresh look at nature. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
A bridge over Thorn Creek is part of the trail. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

6. Lansing Veterans Memorial (Glenwood-Lansing Road and Burnham)

Take a little time to get outside and view the memorial at the Lansing Municipal Airport, dedicated to veterans with local ties who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It’s not a long walk, but it’s meaningful.

The Lansing Veterans Memorial can be seen at the corner of Burnham and Glenwood-Lansing Road. Turn in to the Lynnie Ques parking lot on the south side of Glenwood-Lansing Road. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Lansing Veterans Memorial
Take a moment to view the names on the memorial wall. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
See if you can find the secret path around the memorial. It is designed to recall the jungles of Vietnam. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Your walk may lead you to Artus, who stands guard at the north side of the Lansing Veterans Memorial. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

7. Centennial Park (Centennial Drive and Calumet Avenue, Munster)

Take a scenic walk around Maynard Lake on a paved walking path.

Maynard Lake at Munster’s Centennial Park combines natural and landscaped beauty. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

8. Community Veterans Memorial (9710 Calumet Avenue, Munster)

This 6.5 acre park includes life-sized statues and monuments along a chronological path depicting scenes of the major conflicts of the 20th century. It is a somber yet inspiring place to walk and reflect.

Community Veterans Memorial is located at 9710 Calumet Avenue in Munster, Indiana, approximately 3 miles from Lansing. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
A brick walkway leads people through Community Veterans Memorial. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)
Artistic statues and memorials throughout the park are opportunities for education and reflection. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

9. Your own neighborhood

Don’t forget that walking around your own neighborhood can also be a healthy and fun option. As more and more people are working from home or self-quarantining, strolling around the block can be an opportunity to wave and smile at your neighbors or exchange sidewalk-to-porch greetings.

A walk around the neighborhood can lead to simple discoveries like spring flowers around the base of a tree. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
A spring walk is a good chance to see daffodils and other blooms making their debut. (Photo: Carrie Steinweg)

Walking or simply being outside is an activity that can benefit people of all ages. The more adventurous might choose a daily excursion no matter what type of weather is forecast—splashing in puddles, battling wind, and increasing the pace to stay warm when the temperature drops can all be part of a healthy workout. Others might choose only sunny-day outings. But any dose of the outdoors can offer mental health benefits that are important not only during quarantine, but also in any stressful situation.

For now, remember to maintain a safe social distance even while you’re enjoying a breath of fresh air.

Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg
Carrie Steinweg is a freelance writer, photographer, author, and food and travel blogger who has lived in Lansing for 27 years. She most enjoys writing about food, people, history, and baseball. Her favorite Lansing Journal articles that she has written are: "Lan Oak Lanes attracts film crew," "Why Millennials are choosing Lansing," "Curtis Granderson returns home to give back," "The Cubs, the World Series, fandom, and family," and "Lansing's One Trick Pony Brewery: a craft beer oasis."


  1. Melanie, thanks for the fabulous ideas! I have lived in Lansing my entire life and had forgotten so many cool places. Thanks so much! June & John

  2. Thanks Melanie! We walk in Many of the above places and right now is so perfect bc the grass is that bright lime green with the yellow flowers all over and you can see the creeks thru the trees. Bring your camera ? Enjoy!

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