North Branch Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

The beautiful North Branch Trail is named for the North Branch of the Chicago River, along which it winds. At its northern end, the trail begins at the south end of the Chicago Botanic Garden and continues south to circle the Skokie Lagoons and Erikson Woods. It then meanders south through wooded suburbs, beside golf courses, and among open space to the forest preserve at Edgebrook in Chicago.

The trail offers several resting areas and public restrooms. For much of the trail’s route, there are alternate dirt paths through the woods that allow horseback riding. Wildlife is plentiful.

At the Chicago Botanic Garden, you can connect to the Green Bay Trail. Continue north on the North Branch Trail through the garden to Lake Cook Road and turn right (east). After less than 1 mile, you'll see the Green Bay Trail where it intersects Lake Cook Road.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the northern trailhead, take Lake Cook Road to the Chicago Botanic Garden, located east of I-94/US 41 and 0.5 mile west of Green Bay Road. Park here. You can also start from the many forest preserves along the way as the trail heads south.

To access the southern trailhead in Chicago, take Milwaukee Avenue to Devon Avenue. Head 0.2 mile east to the Caldwell Woods Preserve. Take the entrance road labeled Caldwell Woods Groves 1, 2 & 3.

Reviews

Beautiful, well-maintained

   September, 2013 by jah_60025

I've been using this trail a few times a week for the past month or two as a way to build my fitness, and to sate my refound love of cycling. I tend to ride in the 12-3 range, so I rarely ride during busy times. The path itself, from Devon to Dundee, ...read more

Best for a long ride on the NWS of Chicago

   July, 2012 by chitown_mike

I have ridden on this trail since I was basically able to ride as a kid. It has always been my favorite and since I only live a few miles from it I use it as a commuter trail to get to where I work. It has always been well maintained and there are few ...read more

Nice ride to the botanic gardens

   June, 2011 by hilbertdr

This is a paved and mostly wooded trail that winds through forest preserves and terminates at the Chicago Botanic Gardens at one end. Since the Botanic Gardens only charges for parking, visiting on your bike is free. The lunch room at the Botanic Garden ...read more