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Best trails to ride in Chicago suburbs

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Best trails to ride in Chicago suburbs

Old 07-31-21, 07:59 AM
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macbride
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Best trails to ride in Chicago suburbs

We are planning a trip this fall to ride our road bikes on Chicago suburb trails.
We like to ride 30-40 miles per day.
What trails do you recommend?
Thanks!
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Old 07-31-21, 10:34 AM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/great-lak...rail-list.html

​​​​​​https://www.bikeforums.net/great-lak...irie-path.html
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Old 07-31-21, 02:33 PM
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Wisconsin- couldn’t resist.
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Old 07-31-21, 08:16 PM
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Illinois and Michigan Canal Trail
Salt Creek Trail
Illinois Central Trail
gm
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Old 08-01-21, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by macbride View Post
We are planning a trip this fall to ride our road bikes on Chicago suburb trails.
We like to ride 30-40 miles per day.
What trails do you recommend?
Thanks!
The Fox River Trail.
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Old 08-01-21, 04:05 PM
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macbride
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Thanks, Everyone
This is really helpful.
Macbride
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Old 08-02-21, 01:38 PM
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With all the crime there, is it really safe on the trails there. Anyone from Chicago want to comment?
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Old 08-02-21, 01:59 PM
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North Branch Trail is a great option. I pick it up where it begins and ride to its end which is the Chicago Botanic Garden, and if you take it back the same way, I'd guess it's about 60km.
This is not to be confused with the North Channel Trail. Personally, I really dislike this trail as the pavement is really rough.
Depending where you are in Chicago, Skokie Valley Bike Path may be an option, but that's north of the North Branch Trail. It's a dystopian landscape and rides the entire way along high-tension power lines.
There's the Robert McClory bike trail. Although again, that's a little bit north of the city and would require a ride to reach. But it's an option depending on where you are.
Finally, there's the Green Bay trail which picks up in Kenilworth(ish). That will also end up near at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Last edited by kfried; 08-02-21 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 08-02-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
With all the crime there, is it really safe on the trails there. Anyone from Chicago want to comment?
Please don't do this.
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Old 08-02-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by macbride View Post
We are planning a trip this fall to ride our road bikes on Chicago suburb trails.
We like to ride 30-40 miles per day.
What trails do you recommend?
Thanks!
A big part of this depends on where in the suburbs:

Great Western Trail - West burbs/rural - crushed limestone
Des Plaines River Trail - Northwest burbs - gravel/dirt
North Branch Trail - Northwest burbs - paved
Green Bay/Robert Mclory bike path - North Shore - paved
Illinois Prairie Path - SW suburbs - mostly paved

The Ride Illinois website has maps and lists of every trail in the state. You can also easily take bikes on a Metra trail to get to/from trails, depending on where you are staying. https://rideillinois.org/maps/
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Old 08-02-21, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
With all the crime there, is it really safe on the trails there. Anyone from Chicago want to comment?
I have never felt unsafe on any bike trail in Chicago or the suburbs. I have ridden all of the Chicagoland trails mentioned so far, many times thru the last few decades.

Dont ruin the thread.
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Old 08-02-21, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
With all the crime there, is it really safe on the trails there. Anyone from Chicago want to comment?
To be safe, maybe you should ride the trails east of the city.
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Old 08-02-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
With all the crime there, is it really safe on the trails there. Anyone from Chicago want to comment?
The thread title has "suburbs" right in the name.... We're not talking about 63rd & State Street, 80th & Vincennes, etc. But there aren't really any bike trails in those 'hoods anyway.

Illinois Prairie Path, just to name one example, goes right through the middle of some super nice (and pricey) suburbs like Elmhurst and Glen Ellyn. It don't get much safer than those.
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Old 08-02-21, 05:14 PM
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Robert McClory was mentioned - this is a really nice trail.
Des Plaines River trail is best in Lake County. Well maintained. Once you get south of lake cook road or Dundee I don't think it would be good for a road bike.
If you start at Half Day Rd and head north you can easily get 30-40 mile ride on the DPR.
Have you checked out alltrails ?
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Old 08-02-21, 06:13 PM
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Prairie Path starts in a dicey area, not only for muggings, but broken bottles on the trail

gm
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Old 08-02-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gringomojado View Post
Prairie Path starts in a dicey area, not only for muggings, but broken bottles on the trail
You mean the section through Maywood. Keep in mind the rest of the path is gorgeous and the Maywood section is not at all representative. Apparently most other riders avoid it entirely and path traffic drops off in a hurry east of about Butterfield/Mannheim Roads.

I find the east end from Hillside to Maywood to be very quiet and the locals who are out walking on a weekend morning are friendly.
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Old 08-02-21, 08:11 PM
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One trail I haven't seen mentioned yet is the Old Plank Road Trail in the far south suburbs, between Joliet and Chicago Heights. Fast, straight and level, it goes through some real neat old forested areas near Joliet and lots of typical suburban areas most other places, and ends up skirting some dead malls and less affluent neighborhoods as it nears the end at Chicago Hts. My only complaint is that the asphalt path surface has become more bumpy in recent years as roots (or something?) creates little ridges in the asphalt.
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Old 08-04-21, 01:34 AM
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I found the Des Plaines trail on a south end, where it starts, to be a lot of dirt,, not that well marked, and noisy as it runs under the tollway, Then to get to the north section, it's posted as a dead end at a rail road, but you're supposed to ignore No Trespass signs and cross over? I didn't, but found out later that's what people do.

No one mentioned the Chicago Lakefront, as the OP wanted suburbs, but that is the prettiest, busiest, most crowded. Worth it though, if you don't get jacked parking your fancy SUV.
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Old 08-04-21, 08:19 AM
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The amount of casual trolling wrapped in thinly veiled racism in this thread is ridiculous.
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Old 08-04-21, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Doc_Wui View Post
I found the Des Plaines trail on a south end, where it starts, to be a lot of dirt,, not that well marked, and noisy as it runs under the tollway, Then to get to the north section, it's posted as a dead end at a rail road, but you're supposed to ignore No Trespass signs and cross over? I didn't, but found out later that's what people do.
The southern end is definitely less groomed and more rocky, rough dirt trail. The trail gets smoother as you go north, and the Lake County portion is generally well groomed crushed limestone. I rarely ride the trail south of Rosemont, but the rest of the Cook County portion is great on a gravel/CX bike. The Lake County portion is well groomed and doable on a road bike. I've never found it particularly difficult to follow, but there are a few sections where you have to ride on-street to make connections, so checking a map and/or downloading the route to your GPS would be a good idea the first time.

And yes... the RR tracks just north of Golf Rd are a bit confusing the first time. You can ride East River Road which parallels the trail and has a signalized at-grade RR crossing to go around, but most people just dismount and walk their bikes over the tracks. The Forest Preserve is planning an underpass for this crossing.

Both FPDCC and LCFPD have pretty good maps of this trail on their websites:
https://fpdcc.com/downloads/maps/tra...-Map-10-15.pdf
https://www.lcfpd.org/dprt/
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Old 08-04-21, 10:12 AM
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how so ?
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