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The Fermilab Trail garners its name by running though the campus of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), the former home of the Tevatron particle accelerator. The 3.9-mile particle accelerator, which was in use from 1983-2011, was the second largest in the world and was well-known for its 1995 discovery of the top quark.
The trail extends from near both the Warrenville Grove Forest Preserve and Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville to neighborhoods on Batavia’s eastern edge. The campus of Fermilab, which occupies a large plot of land between the two towns, is open to the public from dawn to dusk, and the Fermilab Trail cuts directly through its heart.
The trail also offers a bit of a shortcut between the Aurora Branch and the Batavia Spur of the 61-mile Illinois Prairie Path. The Fermilab Trail meets the Aurora Branch in the east; in the west, travel less than 1 mile south on Kirk Road to reach the Batavia Spur.
Parking for the Fermilab Trail can be found at the Urban Stream Research Center in the Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville. A large parking lot is located on Slim Beach Road. From there, take the short connector trail over the West Branch of the DuPage River to meet the Fermilab Trail at Batavia Road.
Parking is also available within Fermilab’s campus. Enter from Batavia Road in Warrenville or Pine Street in Batavia. Visitors must have valid photo identification to gain access to the grounds.
I live near Fermilab and can access it by bike without having to drive over. 99 times out of 100 I probably wouldn't choose this path. Fermi is a huge chunk of land that should offer a far better bike trail in my opinion. As it stands the path that leads you from the west side of the property to the east can be best described as a straight-ish cement/asphalt trail with little more eye candy than the main building itself. They used to house buffalo to the east on their farm but they were moved out years ago. Now all that stands is a farmhouse. Near the east side of the property is a small village but aside from a bathroom and maybe a vending machine, there's nothing of interest here. To get more miles you can veer off on any road in the compound but these take you down gritty asphalt roads without much more fanfair, and a bumpy ride to show for it. There's a lot of potential for a great bike path in here, but I don't think the powers that be want a great deal of folks meandering through. By the way, be prepared to show your ID to get in. That is mandatory.
We enjoyed this trail. We had serpentineed our way from Wheaton to Batavia on the Prarie Path, were a bit tired and seeking a more direct route back. We left the Batavia Spur off the Fox River Trail, cut on a couple of neighborhood streets and entered Fermi on the Western side. (Kirk Rd and Pine Street) we weren't sure we were on a trail, (there was construction at the entrance)...but then we rode through the very interesting Fermi Labs. Nice easy paved trail on the side of the road. The trail took us to Batavia Rd which had a wide sidewalk for riding all the way to Butterfield Rd to pick the Prarie Path back up in Warrenville. A nice reprieve for our sore legs and enjoyable route!
I rode my bike on this trail by starting in the Blackwell Forest Preserve, traveling through the Fermilab property and then returning to where I originally parked. (Maybe 8 miles total). The Blackwell Forest Preserve is large and offers wonderful biking trails (I will review that trail separately).
I would suggest parking your vehicle in the Blackwell Forest Preserve near the Urban Stream Research Center (also near the Archery range)...follow the signs in the park to find this location. From that parking lot, it is a short ride on a path that cuts through to Batavia road & the main trail. I picked up a map when I entered Blackwell park so it was easy to find where to park and where the trail starts.
The trail then proceeds up Batavia Road on a wide sidewalk/trail that runs alongside the road. You are on this part of the trail for maybe 1/2 mile before you enter the grounds to the Fermilab. Once you enter the grounds you are on a well-maintained trail that runs through the property. The scenery is beautiful and the trail is a nice escape from busy traffic. This is a relatively flat trail and the path is in great shape so it is perfect for beginners as well as experienced bikers.
I didn't start my ride at the entrance to the Fermilab, but there is parking at the entrance and if you begin your ride there, you avoid the Batavia road stretch. However, the nice thing about starting from the Blackwell Forest is you have access to more trails, restrooms, etc. Over all, a nice trail --- 4-5 star rating.
I went here because it said "inline skating" under the description of this trail. I went there with my rollerblades and found it incredibly difficult to ride. Lots of cracks, debris on the ground. I have been trying to find a good place to go to but have had no luck yet! I would not suggest it to anyone wanting to rollerblade
I'm not a very experience rider; I like to go at a slower pace and enjoy the scenery/weather. I rode this trail on March 15, 2015, the first Sunday of the year that it broke 60 degrees at around 3:00pm. I always enjoy trails that have little traffic as people will usually pass me, or I will have to pass families with children (just a personal preference that I like to avoid).
+ Scenery (loved the barn! I had to stop and watch for a while)
+ Little traffic
+ Not so long that I was exhausted by the end
+ Newly paved path
+ Easy access from Batavia Rd.
- Felt like I was going to be detained if I veered off the path at all, a lot of "authorized personnel only" signs
Definitely will ride again soon! Great first ride of the season.
Up until recently, I would have to agree with the previous reviews on pavement quality. Much of the trails were paved with fresh asphalt in Aug 2014. It made for a very enjoyable ride. You will see a mix of beautiful prairie and interesting architecture. There is also a herd of buffalo near the barn. Traffic on the weekends is very light.
I made the mistake of trying the paved trail. The cracks made it a very unpleasant ride. It was so bad that I felt I had no other option than to ride through the grass to follow other bikers I saw on the road. The road for me wasn't bad. It was actually kind of pleasant with little traffic.
This trail can be broken into three parts: The first leg goes along Batavia Road. The options are to ride in the street or the sidewalk. Entry was a challenge due to construction on Butterfield Road (OCT2012). The second leg is through the Fermilab campus. It's true that the cracks in the asphalt make this a bumpy ride, but the trail wasn't completely unrideable and it's short (2-3 miles?). The third leg goes along Pine St. to Kirk Rd and is like new.
The asphalt bike trail has deteriorated over the years having bad cracks every 10-20 feet. I've broken numerous spokes riding my bike on this. I've talked to Fermilab numerous times about this but they say they have no money to fix the trail. The alternative is to ride on the narrow road which has generally no shoulder with cars whizzing by at 50 mph!
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