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Find the top rated atv trails in Sterling, whether you're looking for an easy short atv trail or a long atv trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a atv trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.
Started at the Bureau Jct TH. Walked bikes across the bridge, started out and found the trail to be a combo of slightly paved, not paved, gravelly, sandy, and deep sandy. A real challenge but not advisable for a road bike. Lots of debris (rock, branches, husks, etc). However, there was no-one else on this section so privacy over crowds is the tradeoff. Saw at least 4 snakes on the trail - prairie kingsnakes and one trapped in the canal. Rode all the way to Lock 6. Nice trail except for the beginning. On the way back we bailed the trail and rode thru Bureau Jct to get to the TH.
Great trail to run, well marked. One thing would be to add some lighting but otherwise it’s easy to access and plenty of parking along the route.
We started at the Visitor Center, (very close to Interstate 80); headed west till we came to the feeder basin and headed north for 4 miles, turned around (due to poor conditions) and went back to the feeder basin to continue west for another 4 miles, then headed back to the visitor center. Total round trip around 27 miles.
We are not from the area and were looking to break up a long car drive, this seemed like the perfect location. I must say the scenery is beautiful, we saw many wild animals, biked thru a patch of grasshoppers (hundreds of them), saw beautiful herons, a long nosed fish and a flock of wild turkeys - stunning!
But as for the path, well I could not tell any paved stretches. Most was light soft gravel or overgrown tire tracks, but the worst part was how overgrown the side brush was, covering 1/2 to 3/4 of the path, especially in the northern section. I was hit by so many branches (we were there in late August, it didn't look like any mowing or trimming had been done all summer). Between that and having to watch for obstructions in the path, it was not very enjoyable. To me the path was very "bumpy" and trying even a pace of 10 - 12 miles an hour was tough.
If you're out for a leisurely stroll, this may be a good path, but the section we rode needs maintenance. And it was very disappointing when we arrived at the Visitor Center on a Monday afternoon, for it to be all closed up, no maps, no bathrooms. The one bathroom we stopped at on the northern section was a mess.
This path has potential, it's a shame it seemed to me no one maintains it.
We ride a gravel tandem and the surface of this trail was easy to ride on. Mostly packed dirt that road bikes can handle (we saw a few). Yes, we did see a few "critter holes" in the trail, so there needs to be some attention paid there; however, there weren't so many as to be a pain - you do need to watch the trail surface, though. Our ride started at the Alta Trailhead and we turned around at the Princeville Trailhead, near the RR crossing. In the town of Dunlap, the trail transitions to local streets, but they weren't busy (we rode on a Thursday). The signage in town could be a little more clear at the transition points.
Parked where I-74 crosses the river Headed west along the trail but the headwinds were so strong I turned around and went east but ended up in a warehouse district alone so came on back. A well maintained trail with lots of bikers and walkers enjoying it
Just hit the trail today from Tutty's Crossing in Freeport all the way to Wisconsin state line (35 miles round trip). It's been 3 years this month since my last ride there. It's in great shape and the weather was perfect. Great scenery for small towns and farmland. Plenty of food, drink and shopping in Freeport. (Definitely check out Union Dairy at Douglas and Adams!)
5 star trail for any serious biker.
Hi everyone-- did the trail July 31, 2021 on a Diamondback Insight Hybrid, 75 degrees and partly cloudy day.
The trail is...not bad. I wanted to give it 3 1/2 stars, so will round up here. I crossed the state --largely using I&M Canal + Hennepin along the way-- starting at Co. road 1200 E (NW of Wyanet) going all the way to Colona, near the Quad Cities. Generally, the further west you go the better in terms of trail surface. Where I started on the eastern portion it was like riding on 'crushed peat' -- grassy and narrow. The asphalt-ish surface starts around I-80 and goes northwesterly from there. There are a few spots that are 'large' gravel but I wouldn't get too worried about that.
I wish the Hennepin was more marked (mile markers, etc) like the I&M Canal. Not much you can do about the lack of services, so bring plenty of water, snacks and a fully-charged cell phone. Princeton and Geneseo are great bookend towns, so to speak, although Princeton is a bit north of the trail. Very peaceful ride, although a little monotonous after a while. The feeder basin area (where the Rock Falls spur branches off) is pleasant.
A hybrid or mountain bike is 'probably' the best way to go here...especially on a dry surface...which I had, thankfully.
Dreaming a bit here...but I think a fully-paved trail between the Quad Cities to the Indiana border, largely using the Hennpin, I&M Canal and Old Plank Road Trails would be amazing and a financial boon to towns along the way. But the cost of constructing such a thing.............
After riding Joliet to Morris the week before I was anxious to do the section from Morris to Marseilles with the expectation to go to LaSalle. This was a mistake.
The trail coming out of Gebhard State Park is okay for a few miles, then it deteriorates quickly. Long sections are single track with grass and weeds tall enough to catch you mid-shin. Once you get to Seneca the trail turns into a farmer's access/driveway, with large sharp gravel on hard dirt, so easy for punctures and rough to ride on. This carries on for a good mile or so, then turns into mostly grass until you reach Milton Rd. From there the trail dog-legs across the [dry] canal and is even worse. The only parts that are good are where the rail lines cross the trail. Here they have completely redone the grading and the crossing, but only for a few yards on either side. It's easier to just ride the street (Broadway) on the south side of the path. If it were allowed it'd be much better suited as an ATV trail.
Continuing west into Marseilles doesn't improve. Looking at the trail going west of Main street doesn't look any better. From that point I abandoned my ride and took country roads with additional miles all the way back to Morris just to avoid the harshness of the trail.
Two weeks ago rode the section from Hollywood Rd (Joliet) to Morris. Overall not bad, but there are a few sections where narrow tire bikes might have some issues. The bridge over the river in Channahon was out, so you have to cut through Channahon State Park and cross using the road at Bridge St.
The next issue is on the west side of Morris where the trail (both sides of the canal) are supposed to cross Nettle Creek. On the south trail the bridge is out, and trail is closed. The north trail is basically non-existent and also no bridge. You have to backtrack a few blocks towards town then ride north to Jefferson St. From there go west as it changes to Fremont St. Turn left at Ottawa Street to head south and enter Gebhard Woods State Park. As the parking area starts there are stairs to the right. You can climb these to catch the trail heading west, or continue through the parking lot past the latrines to where the path goes up an incline to also catch the trail.
Overall it wasn't too bad. Some areas the path really thinned out, almost to a single-file path.
Something I noticed. There are almost no places along the trail to refill water. There are fountains at Channahon State Park and Gebhard Woods State Park, but both were out of order and covered.
The Park District has the necessary equipment to blow the debris off the path once or twice a year. I quit riding it. Too much junk begging me to have a flat tire
A couple buddies and I rode the Hennepin Canal trail Memorial Day weekend from approximately Wyanet to the Quads, then took the Great River Trail up to Fulton, country roads to Sterling/Rock Falls, and back down on the north branch of the Hennepin. Great two-day ride, about 130mi. We had one gravel bike, one MTB, and one roadie. Gravel was definitely best, but we all did great. About half the Hennepin is paved, the rest fine gravel or soft dirt. Maybe a couple spots with chunky gravel or potholes, but nothing too difficult. Even the sections that are supposedly in the worst disrepair (north branch between Rt 92 & I-88) are easily rideable. I’m sure it coulda been difficult on skinny tires if there had been recent rains, but the trail was totally dry and the guy on skinnies was fine. Honestly, don’t get scared by some of the reviews on this site. No, it’s not perfectly maintained pavement, but if you want to set personal speed records on your carbon roadie, go somewhere else. This path is a bit more rugged, more remote and wild, but its still Northern Illinois, it ain’t THAT hard. An experienced biker with a moderate sense of adventure can handle this on just about any bike. Just make sure you have water, some snacks and a charged cellphone. Overall, I’d say this is a great loop for anyone looking for a long but fairly easy ride. Easy trip out from the Chicago area, Quads or Central Illinois.
While on trail from LaSalle, coming within 2 miles of Naplate, the trail was closed. I was unable to continue East. Not sure how much of trail is closed and for how long of time. Plan accordingly from this stretch of trail closure.
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