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The Bloomingdale Trail, part of “The 606” park system, is a 3-mile, elevated rail-trail on Chicago’s northwest side. Built on a former rail line, the trail sits 17 feet above four of the city’s neighborhoods: Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square. An estimated 80,000-plus people live within a 10-minute walk of the pathway and the parks surrounding it.
Plans for the rail-trail began in the late 1990s, but the freight line remained operational for several more years. By 2003, neighbors and fans of the idea began to gather and advocate, forming the Friends of Bloomingdale Trail (FBT), a nonprofit community involvement group. FBT partnered with the Chicago Park District and The Trust for Public Land, among others, to design and develop ideas for the park. After years of discussions, final plans for the new trail were revealed in 2013, and the trail opened in 2015.
As you travel along the trail among cyclists, strollers, runners, people walking their dogs, and children riding their bikes, you get a very neighborhood feel. Numerous coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shopping districts are also all within a few blocks of the route. You’ll pass five trailside parks, many historical sites, and other points of interest on your journey too.
Twelve ramps down to street level allow for ample neighborhood use. The paved trail is 14 feet wide with a sleek, modern look featuring steel railings, bike parking, benches, and landscaping along its entire length. Currently, there are no restrooms along the trail, but both the eastern and western trailheads have bike repair stations and water fountains.
While there are no designated parking areas for the trail, street parking is available nearby. Multiple Metra and CTA train and bus routes also have stops close to the trail, and there are Divvy bike-sharing stations close by as well.
To reach Walsh Playground Park (the eastern trailhead), take I-90/I-94 to Exit 48A for Armitage Ave. Head east on W. Armitage Ave. and travel about 450 feet before turning right onto N. Ashland Ave. After 0.3 mile, you will see Walsh Playground Park on your right; look for street parking near the park.
To reach the western trailhead, take I-90/I-94 to Exit 47A for Fullerton Ave. Head west on W. Fullerton Ave. and travel along it 1.3 miles. Turn left onto N. Kedzie Blvd., traveling south 0.5 mile. Turn right onto W. Armitage Ave., now traveling west 0.7 mile. Turn left onto N. Ridgeway Ave. and you will see the trail entrance at the cul-de-sac at the end of the road. Look for street parking in this neighborhood.
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