Illinois Mountain Biking Trails and Maps

1296 Reviews

Looking for the best Mountain Biking trails around Illinois?

Find the top rated mountain biking trails in Illinois, whether you're looking for an easy short mountain biking trail or a long mountain biking trail, you'll find what you're looking for. Click on a mountain biking trail below to find trail descriptions, trail maps, photos, and reviews.

City Trails and Maps in Illinois

Accordion
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Activities
Length
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19 Results
Activities
Length
Surfaces
Type

Arches Rail Trail

2.2 mi
State: IL
Dirt, Grass

Des Plaines River Trail

56.2 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel

El Paso Walking Trail (IL)

2.8 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone

Galena River Trail

4.5 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone

Hebron Trail

6.7 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone, Gravel
Accordion

Hennepin Canal Parkway

104.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

79.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Grass, Gravel

Illinois Prairie Path

58.4 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone

Joe Stengel Trail

7.9 mi
State: IL
Ballast, Grass, Gravel

Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail

12.9 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

Metro-East Levee Trail

7.6 mi
State: IL
Gravel

Middlefork Savanna Trail

4.3 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone, Gravel

North Shore Bike Path

7.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone

North Shore Channel Trail

6.7 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt

Pekin Park Bike Trail

4.3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Prairie Trail (IL)

26.5 mi
State: IL
Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel

Ridgefield Trace

3 mi
State: IL
Asphalt

Sangamon River Trail

1.2 mi
State: IL
Concrete, Gravel

Waterfall Glen

9.5 mi
State: IL
Crushed Stone, Grass
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
Opened in the Fall of 2012, Arches Rail Trail continues to be improved by an active local support group. It lies between Butler and Hillsboro, Illinois, along a section of an old 1850s route that...
IL 2.2 mi Dirt, Grass
The Des Plaines River Trail runs alongside the Des Plaines River for just over 56 miles, protecting watershed habitat and forestland through much of Lake and Cook Counties. The trail is a natural...
IL 56.2 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
The El Paso Walking Trail runs along part of an old railroad right-of-way through the town of El Paso, beginning at the city park on the south side of town and ending at a creek north of town among...
IL 2.8 mi Crushed Stone
The Galena River Trail is built upon an old railroad spur of the Burlington Railroad main line, constructed in 1886. The spur linked Galena to Galena Junction, where the main railroad line—still...
IL 4.5 mi Crushed Stone
The Hebron Trail rolls across the northern Illinois prairie through the former corridor of the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad, known as the Kenosha Division Line at the time of its demise in 1939....
IL 6.7 mi Crushed Stone, Gravel
The Hennepin Canal Parkway, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a state park, follows an old towpath along a canal opened in 1907 and quickly abandoned due to competition...
IL 104.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail follows the eponymous waterway alongside the Illinois River. The trail runs along the old canal towpath from LaSalle to the historical quarry town of...
IL 79.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Grass, Gravel
Accordion
The Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) was one of the nation’s first rail-trail conversions. It consists of five connected trail segments with three main branches that converge at Volunteer Park (West...
IL 58.4 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
The Joe Stengel Trail follows an old railroad corridor for 7 miles between the town of Polo and the much smaller community of Woosung. The trail corridor traces farm country along a route scattered...
IL 7.9 mi Ballast, Grass, Gravel
The Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail runs 12 miles, much of the way along an old railroad right-of-way between County Highway 2 east of Charleston and the ball fields at 10th Street in Mattoon; an...
IL 12.9 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The Metro-East Levee Trail offers a semicircle route around Cahokia, which lies south of St. Louis and east of the Mississippi River. It parallels a canal and sits atop a levee that is 30 feet high at...
IL 7.6 mi Gravel
The Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve is a natural gem hidden in an high-income neighborhood of Lake Forest, Illinois.  Those 600 acres are home to perhaps the best-preserved example of the rare...
IL 4.3 mi Crushed Stone, Gravel
The North Shore Bike Path runs for nearly 8 miles between Lake Bluff and Mundelein, paralleling State Route 176 for the path's entire length. The trail is one of dozens in the Chicagoland area, all of...
IL 7.7 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone
The North Shore Channel Trail extends from the junction of Green Bay Road and McCormick Boulevard in northern Evanston to the junction of Lawrence Avenue and Francisco Avenue in Chicago. All but the...
IL 6.7 mi Asphalt, Concrete, Dirt
The Pekin Park Bike Trail traverses more than 4 miles between Allentown Road and the Illinois River at Pekin bridge. The trail does a loop in Coal Miners' Park and passes through Mineral Springs Park,...
IL 4.3 mi Asphalt
The Prairie Trail runs the length of McHenry County and is managed by the McHenry County Conservation District. The rail-trail spans just over 26 miles from the Wisconsin border and the farms and...
IL 26.5 mi Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt, Gravel
Ridgefield Trace currently consists of two short segments open for use. The western section runs from McHenry County College on US 14 in Crystal Lake to just west of N. Oak Street. Active railroad...
IL 3 mi Asphalt
Monticello is a small, central Illinois town steeped in a railroad history it still celebrates. Its Chamber of Commerce has offices and special activities in the historical downtown train depot. And...
IL 1.2 mi Concrete, Gravel
The trail system in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve makes a loop around the entire park. The preserve is geologically significant, featuring glacier-carved rock ridges, ravines and wetland potholes,...
IL 9.5 mi Crushed Stone, Grass

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Recent Trail Reviews

Robert McClory Bike Path

Almost Perfect.

October, 2017 by adamarchy23

A gorgeously scenic trail leading from Wilmette to Kenosha that for the most part follows the Metra Union Pacific North line, which is handy to know if you plan to take the whole trail but only have enough gas left in the tank to take it in but one direction.

You'll want a decent, light weight bike with sturdy tires that guarantee you some traction, as you will encounter some loose, grainy gravel better suited to a hybrid than a road bike, especially in some parts of Cook and Lake County, though a bit less than half of the trail is smoothly paved. There's very little incline, though you will encounter a slight amount of uphill biking around the Waukegan area, heading southbound, though nothing steep.

The Kenosha portion of the trail is well kept and smooth riding.

One criticism I have is the lack of helpful signage. While the state and counties want to remind you at every cross street what the rules are (no equestrian or motor vehicles), there's little helpful signage to warn you of upcoming detours or divergent routes (that's government for you). For example, the road ends near the Great Lakes Naval Base, and picks up close by, but there's little to tell you where and how. There are a few times this happens and the best advice I can give is to consult your GPS regularly.

The changing leaves of autumn made this trail especially lovely. Approximately 50 miles, all told and worth seeing every bit.

Thorn Creek Trail

One of the best

October, 2017 by bruceamiller@comcast.net

In October 2017 three of us rode the Thorn Creek Trail west to east. We marveled at its excellent surface (smooth, no potholes or root bumps) and mostly level route. Signage was excellent, with large area maps periodically, As other reviewers noted, most sections are in trees. Worth noting are several large meadows you ride through or along - very pretty. The Trail connects to Old Plank on the west and other trails to the east, so you can easily ride a day end to end on several trails. The icing on the cake (as it were) was a stop @ Calumet Bakery on Torrance Avenue. Bottom line: congrats to the folks who planned and implemented the trail. We'll be back!

Fox River Trail (IL)

St. Charles to Woodstock

October, 2017 by danielkarl1957

Rode north on this trail as far as Crystal Lake yesterday. It was a nice ride and I had not been past Elgin before. Things open up a bit and there are some very nice stretches. They did a nice job navigating the new bypass at Algonquin. The path under the old railroad bridge north of South Elgin is now completely gone. We ended up carrying our bikes over the old bridge which was kind of a pain. Would take the detour next time.

Accordion

Ridgefield Trace

St. Charles to Woodstock Trip

October, 2017 by danielkarl1957

Rode to Woodstock via Crystal Lake yesterday. This trail now runs from Woodstock to Crystal Lake with the break at the railroad tracks. There is a path (marked with a sign on the east end that says not a path) just south of the tracks that we easily road our bikes through. I have a road bike and my son has a touring bike. It connects the loop on the west side with Walkup Rd. The trail may not be all that scenic but is new and well maintained and got us to Woodstock safely.

Lincoln Prairie Trail

OK

October, 2017 by mwskibike

We parked in the parking lot of the park at Lake Taylorville to avoid the closed bridge and rode to Pana and back. I admit it was mid-day on a Thursday, but we only saw one other rider the whole time.

The cracks in the blacktop made for a not very smooth ride. Add to that all the small branches and twigs to get caught in your spokes AND all the hickory nuts (?) in places and it wasn’t our best ride, but it was a ride and I can mark this trail as ridden.

Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail

good relaxing ride, completed in segments

October, 2017 by eric.dobson2

I finally completed the trail in LaSalle last weekend, I had been completing the entire route in segments throughout the summer. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, I liked the historical placards and informative mile markers. Yes, I stopped and read every one of them! I thought it was really well done, and very interesting history of the canal and its construction and usage. Cool grande finale ending up in LaSalle where the packet boat and mule towpath was in full display with the tour.

I started in Lemont where the trail begins, through Lockport (the old canal headquarters) and got through Joliet. A must see is the old Joliet Iron Works, an interesting historical walking tour. The next segment I completed was from Joliet (Rockdale) to Channahon, with beautiful views of the Illinois River. Saw an abundance of varied wildlife as the canal here is wide with plenty of water still left in it. McKinley Woods Park is a nice diversion to take a break. Channahon to Morris was the next segment, again with nice views of barges on the river and the Dresden dam area. From Morris to Marseilles the trail begins to get more woodsy, and at some points the trail goes from crushed limestone to single track dirt. This is where the canal is hard to see, as it has dried up over the years, thus there is less wildlife to see. From Marseilles to Ottawa the trail is still woodsy, but becomes more industrial as you are riding next to train tracks and grain silos along the river for much of it. Ottawa to Utica becomes more scenic as you start to see the St Peters sandstone cliffs at certain points. Finally from Utica to LaSalle you can see much more of this, and the trail ends with a lock with all of its functioning parts, as would have existed back in the day.

I normally ride on much more challenging, tougher and more hilly terrain with my trail bike, so this was a change of pace for me. The trail is in decent shape, but you can tell that it has not been maintained for awhile. There are bridges out in several spots (easy to get around), and fallen trees that you need to lift your bike over. All in all, I would recommend it to the casual rider, seeking an interesting history of the canal from back in the nineteenth century. Happy riding!

Tunnel Hill State Trail

Very nice ride!

October, 2017 by markmoore006

I have only ridden from Vienna to Tunnel Hill and back but I did drive down to the Wetlands Nature Center at the southern end as well as go to Karnak and check it out. Even had lunch at "Our Place Deli". I wish I would have given myself more time and got to actually Bike the whole thing but I will be back for sure to enjoy the whole experience. It is easy to see why people love and care for this trail the way they do. I will give myself at least 3 days on the trail to fully enjoy it next time, especially the southern end. It is a shame there isn't any campgrounds listed close by on the northern half.

Prospect Heights Bike Path

Nice trail, seems lightly used

October, 2017 by burns0591

The trail is mostly well paved. There's a section where somebody highlighted the pavement problems in yellow paint. Not sure if they mean to fix it or just warn. It is pretty flat and does cross several roads, but nothing too difficult (mid-day at least). Bridge at Palatine is nice. I did not notice buzzing from the power towers but at the ComEd station there was some. Did not seem like it was 4 miles long, but maybe that just means it was a pleasant ride. Probably not for the speedsters, but for senior citizens, very nice. Not obvious where it starts from the parking - go east toward Wolf Road, runs along is to start.

Kankakee River Trail

s bruns

October, 2017 by sabruns301

We went to visit my son in Wilmington and rode the Kankakee River Trail for the first time. We started at parking lot A where we rode through a beautiful forest of oaks, maples and hickories. Then we rode through the state park and over scenic bridges and stopped at scenic overlooks of the river. The trail is hilly in places but my husband and I are 67 years old and we had no difficulty pedaling up the hills. We rode to the end of the trail and back to the starting point which is about 20 miles. Even though the weather was perfect, the trail was not crowded. We will definitely be going back!

Des Plaines River Trail

Very multi-use

October, 2017 by campbob

I've now ridden the northern 20 or so miles twice, starting at Russell Road both times. The first couple miles are pretty rough due to the horses. That's not a knock on people riding horses on the trail, just the reality of hoofs digging into the crushed limestone surface. It seems to smooth out quite nicely after that and is very pleasant. Not many road crossings, which is great. Yesterday's ride was much cooler than my previous, but there are plenty of places to stop in the shade if needed. I'm not a fan of the crushed limestone surface simply because it leaves my bike caked in dust, but this is a nice trail for a day's use.

Prospect Heights Bike Path

Decent Suburban Trail that Needs Extension

October, 2017 by mlynski

Pros:
-Relatively flat, a few minor crossings, and thankfully a bridge over Palatine Rd.
-Nice untouched easement with the electric lines overhead, some grassland restoration
-Usually not crowded
-Connection to Lake Arlington at the northwest terminus

Neutral:
-Very straight

Cons:
-You will constantly hear the power lines overhead
-You sort of ride five feet off of some people's backyards
-Southern terminus ends abruptly in a bad spot

I really wish the southern end connected to something like the Des Plaines River Trail or continued along the easement to High Ridge Knolls (a E-W easement trail) so you had some type of loop. Depending on your way home you may have to face a really messy crossing at Rand. I usually head South across Euclid and cut through the large industrial park where there is a protected pedestrian crossing across Rand.

Des Plaines River Trail

Pretty good, just start north of Milwaukee

October, 2017 by mlynski

Pros:
-After Dundee, no unsafe crossings (to my knowledge)
-Varied scenery ranging from swamp, light and dense forest, restored prairies, and old farmland
-Pretty empty on most days (south of Milwaukee can see more traffic)
-Can sporadically see larger animals (deer, raccoons, skunks, turtles, snakes). Guaranteed to see some warblers, woodpeckers, hawks, and finches when in season

Neutral
-Some areas are pretty desolate. The solitude can be nice, but I can imagine it attracts criminals.
-The gravel/packed dirt is OK for the most part. Around Lincolnshire you start seeing more asphalt.

Cons
-South of Milwaukee trail is muddy and swamp-like, very narrow paths
-Underpasses can close as can parking lots (I once drove from Milwaukee Ave. to Beck Lake without finding an open lot)
-Can be a bit confusing especially south of Milwaukee

To sum up, start north at Milwaukee. There's a big lot but you have to cross unprotected and bike beyond a hotel before the trail picks up again. After this there is only one other crossing at Dundee. Some people start across Dundee so they don't have to cross at all.

I was also surprised by the abundance of old ruins sometimes right along the trail. There's an old POW Camp, tons of old farm remains, and scattered agricultural machinery,

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