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

evening ride

   August, 2014 by michael birndorf

Trail is nice and well marked. Most drivers at intersections were courteous and stopped to let us cross. Bikers however, not so much. Not infrequently passing without warning. One individual oncoming nearly plowed into us. Scenery is nice, but up north ...read more

Just Right

   July, 2014 by bjohns3

read more

Excellent at the bottom, tranquil at the top

   July, 2014 by peteckart

This is a very we'll-maintained trail. It's pretty busy for the southern ten miles, with lots of breaks to cross traffic at it winds through many popular county parks. But the top five miles, including a loop that brings you to the Botanic Gardens, is ...read more