Nice ride, but confusing....
We rode the short 7-mile original section of the trail starting at Brookfield Zoo for the first time. Most of it is nice, winding path through forests. This was in spring, so there were plenty of flowers blooming and riding through tunnels of honeysuckle bushes smelled wonderful. There were plenty of deer, birds and other wildlife to experience as well.
We, however, are used to riding a trail system in a less urban area that follows along a river bed, so has less street crossings. I understand that having a contiguous trail in a densely populated urban area with streets on a grid will cause street crossings. This section of the Salt Creek Trail, however, has several that are poorly marked or not marked at all. At the intersection of Cermack and Mannheim, the trail seems to disappear, with no indications at all. We only were able to continue due to directions from a jogger using the trail. The crossing at 31st street is also confusing and not marked, but we were able to figure that one out with a little head scratching.
Due to it's twisty nature and many crossings, it may not be great for hard core training. The fact that it doesn't allow for great speed, does make it ideal for families.
I would recommend this trail, but one should study the route first and not trust that it will be clearly marked.
My husband and I have ridden this trail three times this year, once last year. We rode it regularly for years, but then moved away. I had heard it had deteriorated in the intervening time. Well if it did, it is ok now. It is asphalt, and some of the asphalt has buckeled, but I have seen worse. Good points: there are picnic groves where you can rest. Bad points: No water. When we rode the trail years ago, if the water pumps were not working,we would leave the trail at the Manheim Rd crossing and go buy a drink at a convience store or at the Jewel. The old outhouses have been replaced with port-a potties. The old out houses were cleaner!! The wells have been capped. You cannot even see where they were. The section we ride is from the Brookfield Zoo to Bemis Woods. There is a genuine toilet at the Bemis Woods parking area. Overall, the hill are gentle, and the trail is shady. I would submit pictures, but the photo system has a problem. It did work a month ago.