2013 Photo Contest Winner Best Flora: Purple coneflowers, Bluff Spring Fen near Elgin, Chris Benda
2013 Photo Contest Winner Best Flora: Purple coneflowers, Bluff Spring Fen near Elgin, Chris Benda

Top Three Bike Trails

Posted: August 13th, 2014

There are more than 100 miles of paved multi-use trails in the forest preserves. They are great for biking and in some places for commuting. Remember, multi-use does mean that you share the trail with walkers, runners, in-line skaters, and more.

Bikes are always required to give way to all other users, including equestrians. FYI, no motorized vehicles are allowed in the preserves, so if you see one call 911 and ask for the forest preserve police to report.

The Forest Preserve District has maps on their website of all of the bike trails. There is most certainly one within a short ride near you. Here are a few of our favorites.

Busse Woods near Elk Grove Village

A fancy new bridge in Busse Woods completes an 8-mile loop around the preserve that keeps you off the insanely busy Higgins Road. You’ll go through the nature preserve, around Busse Lake, and through open grassy areas. It’s a great trip with easy parking and tons of waterfowl to see.

North Branch Trail from Chicago’s north side to the Chicago Botanic Garden

The North Branch Trail is very popular linear trail. It runs for 13 miles from Chicago’s north side, along the North Branch of the Chicago River, to the Skokie Lagoons where it hooks into a four-mile loop and the Chicago Botanic Garden. (FYI: the world-renown Chicago Botanic Garden is owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and is free via bike – driving there will cost you a few bucks for parking). You’ll pass by a number of volunteer-led ecological restoration sites along the way, too. You’ll see woods, prairies, savannas, and wetlands along this route.

Tinley Trail System nearĀ Oak Forest

The Tinley Trail System offers several different loops moving through open grassy areas and woods. The advantage here is options for distance. A nine-mile loop connects via a 2-mile stretch to another 3-mile loop and another 2-mile stretch to a 3-mile loop and so on. Soon, the Oak Forest Heritage Preserve will open and that will add another whole chunk to the mix.

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