Busse Woods Trail


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Busse Woods Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Cook
Length: 11.6 miles
Trail end points: Golf Road & South New Wilke Road (Elk Grove Village) and 900 Biesterfield Rd (Elk Grove Village)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6487078

Busse Woods Trail Description


The Busse Woods Trail spans the Ned Brown Forest Preserve, a 3,700-acre natural space in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. The preserve—popularly just called Busse Woods—has a large meandrous lake in its center, and is home to a small herd of captive resident elk. On 11.6 miles of paved trails, cyclists, cross-country skiers, and pedestrians alike can enjoy the natural beauty of the preserve’s waters, forests and meadows.

About the Route 

The Busse Woods Trail has a large loop in the center, with two spurs connecting the loop to the northern and southern endpoints. 

The Busse Woods Trail’s northern endpoint is at the intersection of Golf Road and S New Wilke Road (Elk Grove Village). This endpoint provides trail access from north of I-90, which bounds the nature preserve’s northeastern edge. Going west along Golf Road, the trail crosses under the freeway and into Busse Woods. This part of the trail carries the path west along the preserve’s northern edge to the northwestern corner of the preserve, and then south along the park’s western edge before meeting the trail’s loop in the center of the preserve. 

The middle section of trail forms a 7.3-mile loop. At the Busse Lake Boating Center, the loop splits on either side of E Higgins Road. South of E Higgins Road, the trail quickly meets Busse Lake and weaves through its various segments. The northern section of the loop the trail loops broadly around to the eastern edge of the park, before crossing back south over E Higgins Road and finding Busse Lake at its southeastern tip.

Near Beisner Fishing Wall, the trail makes its southward spur from the loop to the southern endpoint. The trail heads south along the park access road which becomes Beisner Road. At Beisner Road and Gloucester Drive, an additional western spur takes the trail west, over I-290 to a trailhead at Debra Park. Continuing south on the main southern spur, the Busse Woods Trail’s southern endpoint is at 900 Biesterfield Rd in Elk Grove Village. 


The Busse Woods Trail connects with the Salt Creek Trail at the southeastern corner of the preserve.  

Parking and Trail Access

Busse Woods Trail runs between Golf Road & S. New Wilke Road (Elk Grove Village) and 900 Biesterfield Rd (Elk Grove Village). There are numerous parking options along this route inside the Ned Brown Forest Preserve. See TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Busse Woods Trail Reviews


Rode today for 1st time. 7.4 mile loop. 111 elevation gain. Leisurely pace 65 minutes. Beautiful paved trail thru wood and meadows. Waved to an elk. Will be back soon.

Busse Forest Nature Preserve

Busse Forest Nature Preserve is a slice of tranquility completely surrounded by the chaos of highways and the hectic, hurry up conditions of suburbia. It's like a mini Central Park, but in the burbs of Chicago. If I was fortunate to have something like this near my home in my metropolis of southern California I'd be hiking, biking, or fishing it every day!

Since I as staying at the Hampton Inn in Schaumberg, I simply rode my bike down the Schaumberg Bikeway alongside Woodfield Road for about a half mile to access the park.

It was shortly after sunrise on a chilly weekday morning in early October as I entered the serenity of the preserve and its forests, lakes, and large grassy areas. I was joined by dog walkers, joggers, fishermen, bicyclists, a rollerblader, and hundreds of geese.

The treelined paths were carpeted with golden leaves, and many large flocks of geese called many of the grassy areas home. I was fortunate enough to see and hear a massive bull elk making its wailing, bugle-like call in an attempt to entice two cows he was near to get cozy with him.

All in all, Busse Woods Trail is a delightful system of curvy trails, dense woods, large swaths of lawn, and beautiful lakes. What a precious gem for the communities of the burbs and this lucky visitor from SoCal!

Crowded, But For Good Reason

The red path is a 7 1/2 mile loop around Busse Woods. It is my personal go-to for a quick bike ride. The path is very well maintained with a great mix of wooded areas and open areas. The bridges over the Higgins Road mean no stopping for heavy traffic. The only downside is that the trail gets very crowded at peak times.

I try to ride/walk this excellent trail 5 days per week.Every season is beautiful. You can fish the perimeter of the lake as well.

I try to ride/walk this excellent trail 5 days per week.Every season is beautiful. You can fish the perimeter of the lake as well.


My favorite goto park

Love the rides in Busse woods. Lots of trees, fresh air, I love being near the water as well. It has it all. Very well maintained. Whenever I feel like taking a ride on my bike this is the spot.

Very good park. Huge area. Around 10-15 miles circle. Recommend!

Very good park. Huge area. Around 10-15 miles circle. Recommend!


Super easy tail, primarily flat terrain and smooth surface. Very busy on weekends. But an elk farm too!

Really Nice for Family Bike Rides

We tried this bike trail on a Saturday afternoon in September. It was a fairly easy ride, though we only had time for a half loop. Highly recommend.

Great for Rollerblading

If your a rollerblader like myself and looking for a good work out this trail is it. The path is smooth for the most part and it’s easy to do 2 laps! It can get crowded on some days. But the views make it amazing!! I go like 3 to 4 times a week in the warmer sessions!

Great path - busy on weekends

8mi paved loop through woods and wildflowers, past picnic groves and dam, elk were visible, also a model airfield was busy nearby. We went on a bike ride Sunday mid-day and there was a ton of foot traffic to navigate around. Everyone respected the yellow line so that was appreciated!

Busse Woods, one of our favorites.

Excellent well maintained trail with bike air/repair stations along the route.

Bike riding

I love this trail! I’ve been here 2 weekends in a row. One weekend with a 7 and 12 year old and the next weekend with my uncle. It’s a trail great for all ages. The kids loved going down the hill on the bridge and seeing the Elk. The trail is smooth, very scenic and beautiful.

Spring Warm Up

I try and ride this trail every spring. Great way to get your legs back in shape after a long winter in Illinois. I usually take the main loop around twice. I go one direction and then turn around and go the other way getting a look at the scenery both ways. The main loop is about 8 miles around so I end up getting 16 miles in. The scenery is nice and the trail is well maintained. You are hardly ever riding alone.


Great !! Clean! Smooth! Scenic! Shady Wish this was closer to home

Great on a cold day

I rode this trail yesterday while I had some time to myself. It was in the 30's, with a very light snow falling. That meant that very few people were out on the trail. That also meant it was a great day for a ride. I parked off of Golf Road next to the Black trail, rode south and did two loops on the red trail before returning to the car. The whole ride came to a bit over 17 miles. I probably saw as many animals as people. Three deer were grazing next to the trail, there were a couple of elk out in their fenced in area, and, most concerning, was coming around a corner and hearing an animal noise only to look over and see a skunk poised to spray me! Fortunately I was going past it, not at it, so I came away clean. Probably due to the lack of sun and my unfamiliarity with the Preserve, I never seemed to have a good sense of what direction I was riding. There were plenty of maps, but I just didn't get a feel for it. The environment varied quite a bit from prairie to forest. There had been a recent controlled burn, primarily in the woods, so there was a light smell of fire still in the air. It's definitely a great trail to ride when the people count is low!

Perfect Trail

Perfect bike trail! We did it with kids riding their own bikes and a dog. We will be coming back again.

buss woods trails

one of the best bike trails in Elk Grove village ¿¿¿¿¿¿

Trail comments

Yes, it can be crowded. This is one of the most visited preserves on the county. The construction under the Tollway is open at this time and looks to be final soon.

Enjoyable Trail

I was visiting from Missouri and love this trail. Not difficult, but safe. Highly recommend.

Great trail!

Love it here! Not many hills, which is nice. Many varieties of scenery.

To the other reviewers complaining about crowds on trails around hills ~ consider reading the Cook County Trail Rules. They specifically say to walk your bike down hills, and no speeding.


When I first started biking, I enjoyed this trail immensely. The main section is an approximately 8 mile loop that's fairly flat with only very gradual elevation changes (aside from approaches to the two bridges over Higgins Rd), and there's a mall on the west end and a bike shop on the east end, ensuring that any potential bike issues can be dealt with without the need for an incredibly long walk. That being said, once you get to where you want to bike more than 15 miles or so, the trail gets boring to just go around and around in circles on. Also, particularly on the weekends, the trail gets extremely crowded. People camp out on the bridges and dams (some of the narrowest parts of the trail) to go fishing. Families have a tendency to stand on the trail near the fenced in area on the northeast side of the trail where the elk are - and it's particularly dangerous because of these folks because if you're headed counter-clockwise around the loop you're coming down a steep downhill from the bridge over Higgins Rd, then around a fairly blind turn before you hit the elk pasture and if you're not careful you could end up running into someone; despite wanting to keep your momentum from the downhill, particularly on the weekend you should really control your speed. If you get to this trail and it's crowded, you'd be better off taking the Salt Creek Trail which starts from the same Busse Woods forest preserve.

Watch for inconsiderate bikers

I love Busse Woods, but there are some bicyclist that just don't know how to follow the rules of the road. On July 3rd I was biking with a friend when along came this guy on the wrong side of the path. I yelled and yelled to him to him to get over, which he did not and caused me to wipe out. I hit my head and hurt my back all because of someone's inconsideration.
No he was not passing anyone, he was on the wrong side. I did not notice earbuds either.

No he did not stop either. He kept going never asking how I was or if I needed help.

There needs to be some patrolling of the trails for people like this.

I have heard many stories since my fall about broken bones etc because of bikers like this guy.

Watch yourself, because they are not watching for you.

Construction alert!

For the next several months, the section under the Tollway at the far north end is closed due to Tollway expansion. Temporary access may be soon later but for now, it is closed.

Shady Retreat

This trail is great for shade lovers. Just enough sun, but not to much. Nicely paved and maintained. It can be crowded, so a leisurely pace is expected. Many runners, walkers, riders and pet owners. Enjoyed this relaxing ride.

Workout Path

I am a local resident for this trail and often ride it multiple times per week in my riding season. I use the trail for conditioning and part of the weekly workout. The trail is paved and is in good condition. You will find yourself on a 8 mile loop (red trail) which will take you through open meadows and through the forested parts of the woods. There are overpass bridges that take you over Route 72 twice. You can also take the trail North of the Red trail that will take you about another five miles to the North. The trail can be very crowded on weekends when families are most frequent. The path is used as a bike, run and walking path. The trail has great scenery and offers some nice places to take a break overlooking the lake. Often wildlife are on the trail towards the dusk or early dawn. Anytime of the season this is a popular and active trail.

My husband and I rode this trail August 27th, starting about 6 pm. The air temp had dropped, which could account for the heavy use of the trail. The only moments we were alone on the trail was approximately after 7:30 pm., when it was getting dark in the woodsy sections. There were cyclists, skateboarders, skaters, and walkers on the trail. About a third of the cyclists were racers in training. I have to say that the majority of them were polite and issued the required warning as they past us at 20 mph. This is not true at all paved trails. I hope this is common at Busse Woods. We had not been in Busse Woods in almost 30 years. Much has changed, and all to the benefit of the public. We were happy to see brick and mortar bathrooms with running water. In the 9 miles round trip that we rode, there were at least 4 such restrooms. There is ample parking. The only drawback is a lack of benches and picnic tables for the number of people at the preserve. And we did see a cycling policeman.


Beautiful woods

Just Great

Great paved biking trail for beginners or those with small children. A few ups and downs but nothing severe. Many places to stop and even full plumbing washroom facilities! It's a loop so you finish where you started. It gets a bit crowded with families and inconsiderate walkers so more advanced riders seeking speed may want to stick to off-peak hours. More advanced mountain bikers seeking thrills will probably be bored.

Busse Woods Bike Trail

This is probably the best forest preserve for biking/walking/running in the NW Suburbs. I use this trail for biking but it has facilities for plenty of other activities like fishing, boating, picnics, etc. If you're on the trail you only have to stop to cross a main road once, other than that its pretty smooth and uninterrupted 8 mile loop (which cant be said of the other forest preserves in the area). There are lots of ponds and bridges and a good portion of the trail is under tree cover which provides some relief on those hot, sunny days that we've been seeing of-late. It does get crowded at times on weekends but you'll notice this only at the parking lots. There are plenty of ponds for fishing and lots of spots for sunbathing if that's what you're looking for.

Here is a video I made of my ride...


Nice for getting out of the city.

Love this trail! It's not far from the city but feels worlds away. On a nice day there are walkers & slow pokes. But compared to the Chicago Lake path I usually ride; it's practically deserted. So you can keep a pretty fast pace if you like without a lot of worry. But the scenery is lovely too, for you slow pokes out there. I've been going in the late afternoon, so I haven't spotted the elk herd yet. But I'll keep my eye out.
Just one downside. Water access is limited to the occasional bathroom sink. (connected to the lakes around the trail) So do yourself a favor & bring your own if you're picky.

Great easy trail

Busse woods is awesome for a fun easy family ride. Park on the north side of Higgins, near route 355. Bike traffic moves at an easy pace. The elk herd on the east side are a good place for a rest stop.

5 stars for elk

http://ilbob.blogspot.com/2012/09/20120926-busse-woods-elk-pasture.html I stopped here a few days ago and took some video and pictures of the elk. Pretty cool.

I'm new to trail biking but this trail was fantastic! Beautiful nature, and generally a pretty flat trail making it easy for most people. Trail tracker calculated 7.6 miles following the red trail, took me just about an hour. Lots of places to stop and rest, use the restroom, get water and not a whole lot of car traffic to worry about. Overall I will be frequenting this trail often!

Fun for families

A great trail to ride with friends or family that aren't training for the Tour de France. Kinda crowded on weekends in the summer and alot of cross traffic. The crossing at Higgins and 53 sometimes takes a while.
Great scenery- the elk, the lake, the bridge.

On the south end of the trail is a spur that will take you out to Salt Creek. If you are looking to extend your ride Watch for the arrows.

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