Valparaiso, IN Atv Trails and Maps

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Recent Trail Reviews

Old Plank Road Trail

Flat, Breezy, and... Motor Vehicle Traffic???

April, 2021 by davidsontm

Rode the OPRT for the second time yesterday (4/25), covering 31 miles from Western to Cedar and back.

Most importantly, it's a great ride through the far south suburbs - easy to access at several points and with Frankfort more or less midway-ish if you want a break to eat or drink. Also, the trail is almost completely straight and flat, not counting a few moderate climbs for overpasses and some stretches of *very* gradual incline or decline. A few areas with root-bumps in the trail, I've seen better and worse in this regard.

This may be unique to our chosen days of riding, but we have found the OPRT to be a very windy trail. There is a fair amount of tree and brush cover, but also large open areas (including one area where you traverse a large pond on a narrow causeway). Our first ride was last November, this time mid-spring. So, granted, spring and fall can be turbulent weather seasons. But both times the trail was so windy, we decided it would be a great place to return on one of those 90-degree summer days! Your mileage may vary on this issue.

Also, strangely, we encountered FOUR motor vehicles on the trail yesterday - three cars and one trail bike. All were east of Frankfort, and the three cars were near Western where we parked. One parked, one idling, and one moving - ahead & away from us. Haven't seen anything like this on other trails, other than an occasional vehicle doing trail maintenance; this was not that. The trail is clearly posted, no motor vehicles, so these folks were just flouting the rules. Again, don't know if this is common on OPRT but we didn't see it the first time. At one point we were BETWEEN the parked and idling cars, which felt a little hinky. But no issues, we weren't accosted, etc. Just a few individuals using a resource for its other-than-intended purpose.

Waterfall Glen

good workout

April, 2021 by maygtz40

Good workout due to the many hills, maybe not for beginners but not too advanced either. A lot of people walking but fairly wide trail. I went counterclockwise from the Lemont parking lot so it’s more downhill at the beginning and more uphill towards the end.

Wauponsee Glacial Trail

Rough spring ride

April, 2021 by idailey

I rode the north end of this trail three years ago. It was very enjoyable and I would give that ride 5 stars. Ever since, I've looked forward to riding the south section.

I made the trip on Easter Sunday. I started at the trailhead at the NE corner of Midewin off Hoff Road. From there, I rode south, a 25 mile out-and-back to Custer Park. Pros: beautiful weather, interesting little towns, wide open vistas, light traffic, friendly folks, Kankakee River bridge. Con: the trail remembers everything that traversed it when it was wet and soft. There were petrified bike tire ruts, snowmobile/washboard tracks, deer hoofprints, bootprints, etc. In addition, as others as mentioned, there are a few soft spots, but worst of all, a verrry rocky section along Midewin. The ride was a boneshaker and I spent way too much time looking at the trail instead of the scenery. The south section could be a 5-star section, too, but based on the rough surface, I give it 3 stars.

Will County FPD says they're making improvements: https://www.reconnectwithnature.org/News-Events/News/Limestone-Screening-Work-Begins-on-Two-Mile-Sectio . Hopefully future riders have smoother experiences!

Accordion

Centennial Trail (IL)

first day of spring ride

March, 2021 by idailey

This was an excellent choice for the first longer ride of the year. I did an out and back from the south end. The trail was not crowded, but there were enough people passing by to feel comfortable. The trail is in good condition as evidenced by the significant number of road bikers zipping along. The only sketchy location was at the curve just southeast of the Lemont Road crossing. The trail there was muddy and people were riding on Canal Bank Road, but beware of the big pothole going westbound. It was semi-hidden in a shadow and hitting it would be bad. The ride was serene, with an interesting mix of open water and industrial views. I took the hike up Centennial Hill and agree it's worth the time.

Prairie Duneland Trail

A "cool" ride with great connections

March, 2021 by davidsontm

Prairie Duneland was the first rail trail we rode, so for us it's a sentimental favorite. It's also close to home, so we ride it often.

As others have noted, most of the trail is well shaded and screened by trees, making it a cooler ride on hot days. The tree screening also helps make windy days more manageable.

But, with trees come roots, which often are the source of bumps and cracks on paved trails. Other than a short stretch near the Cleveland Avenue trailhead in Hobart, this trail mostly has escaped that problem. (Technically, that stretch is actually on the Oak Savannah trail, see below.)

Another good thing about Prairie Duneland is that it connects to several other trails. Just west of 149, the Iron Horse Heritage Trail branches off to the north - at about 2 miles it's a relatively short but nice trail.

Prairie Duneland also connects seamlessly at its west end to the Oak Savannah trail - in fact, if you start in Chesterton and head west, the last mile and a half or so before Cleveland Ave is actually the Oak Savannah. If you're so inclined (and willing to put up with a stretch of some twists and turns with non-existent signage through downtown Hobart), you can ride the entire Oak Savannah, link to the Erie Lackawanna Trail in Griffith, and end up in Crown Point.

These trails are all almost entirely flat and well paved. The one warning is that a rail crossing at roughly mid-point on Oak Savannah can sometimes be blocked by stopped trains.

Des Plaines River Trail

North for novice

December, 2020 by pswan00670

I agree with the reviews of the trail south of Lake Cook Rd. It’s ok for a few miles south but there’s a notable difference of trail conditions from the trail north. Two different counties and budgets to maintain them, I assume. Traveled this trail multiple times this past COVID season. It’s my first year biking in 40 yrs and wow, what a great trail.

North Branch Riverwalk

North Branch River Trail

December, 2020 by chinitoyoung10

Runs along the river. The park is nice but the trail seems a little dirty with trash around the sides. There are multiple benches along the trail for resting. Not a bad trail, but not a very pretty trail either. So if you’re looking for some sight-seeing as you run then this may not be the ideal spot to run.

North Branch Riverwalk

North Branch River Trail

December, 2020 by chinitoyoung10

Runs along the river. The park is nice but the trail seems a little dirty with trash around the sides. There are multiple benches along the trail for resting. Not a bad trail, but not a very pretty trail either. So if you’re looking for some sight-seeing as you run then this may not be the ideal spot to run.

North Branch Trail

fantastic trail

November, 2020 by delfuego11

This trail is the beat I’ve ridden on. I’m new to biking but this trail, so far, is my favorite. Paved the entire way or off roading choice if you’d like as well. I like to mix it up a bit.

Thorn Creek Trail

A South Suburban Gem

November, 2020 by davidsontm

We rode this trail in early Nov 2020, and liked it so much we returned two weeks later for another run. This is one of the most interesting of the suburban trails we have ridden, with a number of bridge crossings of the creek. The trail winds through various Forest Preserve forests and meadows on its north end, before veering due south at Glenwood for a long straight stretch, then wanders through several pleasant neighborhood-adjacent parks before ending at Sauk Lake.

Well worth adding the very peaceful and scenic Black Trail loop around Sauk Lake, just be prepared for that one steep hill at the back, lol! An added benefit is that Thorn Creek Trail is amazingly smooth, with very few of those root-bump cracks that you always seem to feel so much more on the return trip.

Ignore the nonsense in the "Parking and Trail Access" section about the northern trailhead being at "Wapum" (Actually Wampum) Lake Woods. There's no trailhead there, they need to change that. Park at Lansing Woods on 186th just east of Torrence.

Erie Lackawanna Trail

Bumpiest Part Repaved!

November, 2020 by guy24

I am thrilled to share that the worst part of this trail mentioned in several reviews here has been freshly repaved as of November 2020 (from Route 30 all the way north to Colfax Street). Previously, this section was marred by huge cracks that ran across the full width of the trail every 20 yards or so. These cracks were between 1 and 2 inches wide – enough for foliage to blossom within – and were absolutely jarring to hit on a road bike. Now, this section is buttery smooth and an absolute pleasure to ride on.

This now places the worst section of this trail in Hammond north of Interstate 80/94. With the exception of the new pedestrian flyovers that cross Columbia and Calumet Avenues, the rest of Hammond's share is quite rough. Still, I enjoy completing the entirety of the trail from Downtown Hammond to Crown Point and back. When I start off in Hammond, I typically park in the visitor's lot of the Hammond Police Department off Douglas St. for some extra peace of mind with respect to my vehicle being left unattended for hours (downtown Hammond doesn't have the rosiest of reputations).

Thorn Creek Trail

Worth a drive to get to this trail

November, 2020 by clanders

Agree with all the posters below: this is a great trail and another example of what gems these FPD trails are! So close to urban, highway, and residential, yet a secluded ride in the woods.

If riding south and west, park at the Red trailhead at Lansing Woods, just east of Torrance on 183rd Street. Late season and winter, mind the wind direction before choosing which way to ride this trail, as much of it runs due south.

11.8 miles to the end of the red trail, then you can tack on 4 miles on the black loop. 11.0 miles to the east end of the Old Plank Road trail.

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