The western segment of the Great Western Trail in Illinois follows 17 miles of an abandoned railway corridor through DeKalb and Kane counties, between Leroy Oaks County Forest Preserve and the town of Sycamore. The Chicago Great Western Railway (later Chicago and North Western) was called the Corn Belt Route because it linked Chicago, Minneapolis, Omaha and Kansas City. Today, the crushed limestone trail provides access for cyclists, walkers and joggers, and in winter allows cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (the latter west of Wasco and when snows reach 4 inches). Horseback riding is allowed on another trail adjacent to the Great Western Trail only. The trail also includes shelters and rest areas.
The open space created from the trail corridor offers thousands of acres of landscapes that are pleasing to the eye: wetlands, natural areas, farmland and rural communities. The trail passes through Virgil and Lily Lake, paralleling State Route 64. A newer section of the Great Western Trail
is found in DuPage County to the east.
You can link the east and west segments of this trailin a long, roundabout wayby continuing on the Randall Road Bike Path
at this trail's eastern end in Leroy Oaks County Forest Preserve. Take the Randall Road trail north to the River Bend Trail
(a.k.a. Silver Glen Trail), which meets up with the Fox River Trail
. Where the Fox River Trail meets the Illinois Prairie Trail
(east of the river in Elgin), take the Illinois Prairie Trail east to the eastern segment of the Great Western Trail, where they intersect near Prince Crossing Road.
Parking is available in St. Charles at Leroy Oaks Forest Preserve on Dean Street west of Randall Road. There are a few spots along Wasco Road near its intersection with Route 64. There is space for a few cars where the trail intersects Hanson Road in Lily Lake and more spaces near where the trail intersect Wolley Road.
"This is a fine trail for bicycle riding in that it is very scenic and mostly flat. Apparently going west there is a slight incline. You can see many kinds of birds including pheasants along this trail. Once you are west of the St Charles area, there ...
"I ride this trail quite often as its close by and an even grade. 2/3 of the trail is shielded by trees so you would not get burned up too bad in the heat of the day. The only downfall is if its a windy day, you'll be pushing against what seems to be ...