The Fox River Trail features 43 miles of spectacular biking, hiking and cross-country skiing along the scenic Fox River. The paved path can be challenging at times, but the extra pedal pushing is rewarded with some impressive scenery along the trail and in the small towns. In addition, you can link with other trails in the region directly from the Fox River Trail for a multi-day journey (the Prairie Trail in Algonquin and the Virgil Gilman Trail and Illinois Prairie Path in Aurora).
As the trail meanders south from Algonquin, it closely follows the Fox River. It is possible to switch back and forth over the river since the trail does extend on both sides of the river at times. While this is a nice amenity, it also increases the potential to be confusing. The signage along the trail is good in most parts, but be sure to consult a map before heading out for a longer trip.
The upside to bouncing back and forth across the river—aside from the scenery—is the bridges you cross on. The Fox River Trail offers no less than six of them, some specifically for bicycles and pedestrians, across the river. The bridges are perfect spots for some of the best photo opportunities to be had along the trail. The bridges vary in form and function, from trestle to pedestrian, and allow you to experience the Fox River from many different viewpoints.
The trail was built on stretches of three former railroads: Chicago, Aurora & Elgin; Aurora, Elgin, & Fox River Electric; and Chicago & North Western. Today, it hosts a multitude of different birds, trees and wildlife, including bald eagles, herons and woodpeckers.
The Fox River Trail draws a lot of visitors, and many of the towns (and business owners) along the trail have embraced the tourism. You will find restaurants, cafes, bike shops and souvenir shops.
Small parks that dot the landscape throughout the trail are perfect for picnics or a well-earned break. They are local fishing haunts, too. So whether it is for a leisurely stroll, a hard cycling workout, a picnic in the park or just a relaxing day of fishing, the trail offers plenty to make your day.
To reach the Algonquin trailhead from State Route 31, travel toward Algonquin and turn east on State Route 62 then north on North Harrison Street. Riverfront Park, with parking, is approximately a quarter mile ahead.
Reach the Aurora trailhead from Interstate 88 (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway). Exit on to State Route 31 in Aurora and head south. Willis McCullough Park is on the left in approximately 1 mile.