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.
Future plans call for extending the trail farther south about 3 miles to Gompers Park.
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.