The Bauer Memorial Path provides a short route through residential and commercial areas of Machesney Park, a northern suburb of Rockford. The trail begins at the Harlem Community Center and travels in a straight line west along Roosevelt Road (which becomes Machesney Road after crossing N. 2nd Street) and passes the Machesney Park Mall on its way to Victory Lane. There, the paved trail ends, though you can take the marked bike lane south on Victory Lane (or the sidewalk paralleling the roadway) to where the trail picks up again off Harlem Road. The trail follows Harlem west to its end at Rock River.
Cross the Frank Bauer Toll Bridge (no tolls are due if you're on the path) and you can connect to the Rock River Recreation Path
, the "Grand Daddy" of the Rockford trail system. Future plans also call for linking the trail to the Willow Creek Path
, which reaches the scenic Rock Cut State Park.
Parking is available on the northern end of the trail at the Harlem Community Center (900 Roosevelt Road), or at the Machesney Park Mall (8750 North Second Street). Across the bridge, on the western side of Rock River, parking is also available at the Winnebago County Forest Preserve office (5500 Northrock Drive).
We have been on the part along Roosevelt Road many times, and the part along Machesney Road several times, but none of the rest, so it was something new for us. My GPS software calls it 2 miles end to end.
The path starts at Harlem Community Center ...