Fox River Trail (IL)

Illinois

Fox River Trail (IL) Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Kane, Kendall
Length: 44.6 miles
Trail end points: Washington St. and S. Harrison St. (Oswego) and Souwanas Trail and Scott St. (Algonquin)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015748
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Fox River Trail (IL) Description

The the Fox River Trail (FRT) was built on stretches of three former railroads: Chicago, Aurora & Elgin;  Aurora, Elgin, & Fox River Electric; and Chicago & North Western. Today, it hosts a multitude of different birds, trees and wildlife, including bald eagles, herons, and woodpeckers.

Starting from its southern terminus, the rail-trail originates in the charming village of Oswego, located 50 miles west of Chicago. The trail begins in Hudson Crossing Park, which faces the Fox River and has playgrounds, picnic areas, and benches, as well as a restroom and drinking fountain. At the north end of the park, there’s a fork in the trail; veer left to continue on the FRT. For a fun diversion, the right fork takes you on a short pathway along Waubonsie Creek through a small, serene park and leads to downtown.

Leaving Hudson Crossing Park, you’ll cross over Waubonsie Creek and parallel the Fox River. After going through another small park, the trail becomes an on-road route for a short distance. Make a left at North Adams Street and travel on the roadway 0.5 mile through a quiet residential area with very little car traffic. At the next bend in the road, stay to the left, and do not cross the train tracks. The off-road section of the FRT begins again after making a right onto Second Street.

Leaving Oswego, the path is sandwiched between the river and IL 25 for 4.8 miles to the Fox River crossing on the south end of Aurora. The trail initially passes through a mix of commercial districts and neighborhoods, a suburban-urban interface that the FRT weaves in and out of for the entire route.

At mile 4 is Montgomery Dam, a popular fishing spot and 1 of 13 dams along the Fox River. Here, the path traverses a narrow peninsula, then crosses the river back to its east bank. Shortly thereafter, you’ll cross to the river’s west side on a truss bridge, which is also part of the Virgil L. Gilman Trail. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn right to head north (if you stay straight, you remain on the Virgil L. Gilman Trail) to ride the length of Hurd’s Island. Leaving the island, you’ll travel 0.5 mile along an on-road protected bike lane.

Aurora (mile 6.5) extends into four counties and features three nationally registered historic districts. The city is actively improving its downtown, including the addition of a riverfront park that the trail passes through north of West Downer Place. Beginning at East New York Street, a mile-long segment of the FRT runs up both the west and east sides of the river. The eastern leg of the trail ends at East Illinois Avenue; on the north side of East Illinois Avenue, you can pick up the Illinois Prairie Path on the far side of a parking lot. If you travel on the west side of the Fox River, you’ll cycle through North River Street Park and McCullough Park.

The FRT hugs the river’s edge as it carries on toward North Aurora and, for the most part, avoids the hustle and bustle of the city. At the North Aurora Dam, the trail once again splits to run up both sides of the river; the section on the east bank runs through Red Oak Park and Glenwood Park Forest Preserve. The trail merges back into one in Batavia. Make sure to stop in at the Batavia Depot Museum, which houses exhibits about the three railroad corridors that now make up the Fox River Trail, and the Fabyan Villa Museum, redesigned in 1907 by Frank Lloyd Wright.

You’ll continue through the communities of Geneva and Saint Charles, as well as several more parks. In South Elgin, you can ride an electric trolley at the Fox River Trolley Museum, which operates a passenger car for a 4-mile round-trip ride along the banks of the river. The FRT runs alongside the rail tracks to the museum. It then crosses the river via a bridge built on the original 1896 piers to stay on the eastern side of the river for the remainder of the ride.

From the bridge crossing, it’s 3.5 miles to downtown Elgin. Note that on your way to Elgin, you’ll travel through tranquil forest preserves but will also have a couple of short on-road segments to navigate. The FRT goes through East Dundee, a small village established in 1871, and ends at the southern end of Algonquin, where you can pick up the Prairie Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

The closest parking area to the FRT’s southern terminus is at Hudson Crossing Park at Harrison St. in downtown Oswego. To reach it from I-88, take the IL 31 exit near mile marker 117 toward Aurora/Batavia, and head south on IL 31 S/S. Lincolnway St. Stay on IL 31 S 8.4 miles, past Aurora. Immediately after the Oswego Village Hall, make a left onto Washington St. and cross the Fox River. The first street immediately after crossing the Fox River will be S. Harrison St. Make a left onto S. Harrison St. and into the parking lot for Hudson Crossing Park.
 
On the northern end of the trail, you can park in Algonquin’s Riverfront Park (201 N. Harrison St.). To reach the park from I-90, take the exit for IL 31 near mile marker 55. Go north 7.2 miles on IL 31, and turn right onto S. Main St. In 0.1 mile turn right onto Washington St., and then make an immediate left onto S. Harrison St. Riverfront Park is approximately 0.25 mile ahead. From the parking lot, you will need to walk or ride about 0.5 mile southwest on Harrison St. to the Prairie Trail, and then go southeast 1 mile on the pathway to reach the FRT.

Fox River Trail (IL) Reviews

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.

We rode the section from Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles to Aurora on Saturday September 16th in the afternoon. Once we found the trail from the parking lot, it was a lovely ride and not a lot of hills. It passes through a few congested areas near parks and through downtown St. Charles but largely it was not overpopulated. There are a few places that it wasn't terribly clear which way to go, there's a main trail with trails that go off it and at one point there are two trails, one on each side of the river. Once we got to Aurora there was a bit of street riding, well marked, and then there was nothing although I knew we couldn't be at the end based on the map. The trail is all asphalt and in pretty good condition. The scenery is beautiful and goes through some nice towns.

Sunday Sept. 17th we rode the part from Norris Woods in St. Charles to the 5 or 6 mile mark which is north of Elgin. There were lots of places that were not marked well at all, there were a lot of confused riders including us. There's currently one section that is closed, we figured it out going north, going south we missed the turnoff but were able to figure out how to get back on the street. The scenery was not as nice as the south section. There are more hills on this route including one right at Norris Woods, one in Elgin that I had to get off and walk and one mid way that was very challenging. Mostly asphalt, some street riding, a couple small crushed limestone sections.

Have ridden several times: north from Elgin past Carpentersville and then Aurora North to Red Gate Bridge. It's too suburban and crowded for my taste. Trail too narrow to share with walkers, baby strollers and bikes. I prefer Plank Trail, Cal Sag Trail, Centennial, which you can take all the way east to Columbia Woods, the I and M, though limestone, has more of an adventure feel to it, which is what I'm looking for in a ride, and the Waubonsee Glacial trail which is farm country to Kankakee and also allows you to explore Midewin Tall Grass Prairie. These are wider trails, with more varied scenery and less suburban atmosphere overall, except for portions of Plank around Frankfort and some to the west. It's a nice trail, but there are better ones out there.

Accordion

The Fox River is pretty flooded right now, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I parked next to the Dairy Queen in East Dundee and rode south. I was hoping to get to St. Charles for my first attempt on this trail, and I nearly made it before I reached a point where the trail was flooded over. It was also flooded at the casino in Elgin, but that was easy to ride around. I turned back and returned north. I grabbed lunch at the same Dairy Queen in E. Dundee and then kept going north onto the Prairie Trail. The Fox River Trail was smoother north of E. Dundee. There were a few bumpy areas riding to the south. The river front in Elgin is very nice and a great place to ride. I was surprised, though, by the lack of restaurants along that stretch. My guess is that they can't compete with the restaurant(s) in the casino. I did get a bit turned around at one point, but the mistake simply took me in a loop right back to where I had missed the turn. The signage going south wasn't quite as good as the signage going back to the north. It was a nice trail to ride and surprisingly dry given the flooded state of the river.

I've ridden this a few times and it has many options to choose from. First it's all paved and pretty well marked. You can start it from The Aurora casino which is what I'd recommend because it's the most scenic from there. You can also start it from Algonquin and take it sour but it

Loved it! Very smooth pavement.

Many of the communities along Fox River have come to embrace the beauty and charm the river has to offer. Gone are the many mills that dotted the river landscape from years gone by replaced by plenty of open spaces with natural scenic eco systems native to the local area. With collaborate efforts among the many communities the trail now links along the entirety of the river, making it a good relaxing,scenic ride one will experience whether it would be on foot or biking, enjoy one and all!

My best friend and I rode this trail from Elgin to Aurora and had a blast. We spent the night in Aurora and rode back the next day. The trail can be a little tricky in places in terms of staying on the trail, as you will have to cut through towns to get back on, but overall we loved it. Just make sure to have the map available - as it makes the ride a true adventure! The river is gorgeous, and the little areas that you pass through are wonderful. We had lunch and even stopped in Genoa for a little shopping. I will certainly ride this one again.

I road this trail from Montgomery to Geneva. I started at 5:45am so the trail was basically empty. I will say that the first part of the trail in Montgomery had a good amount of homeless people hanging out around it. A few run down cars in some of the parking lots with people just sitting in them. Not that they were bothering me or anyone on the trail but it's something to keep in mind. The trail itself is very nice, the scenery along the trail is simply awesome.

I have a road bike and I like to get a good speed going and like to maintain it, I love the scenery but I like to make good time and get in a good workout. If you're like me, there's some parts of the trail you may want to skip. Downtown Aurora is probably one of them. Part of the trail is a river walk and even has a 30 foot long bridge that has a sign that says "Walk your bike on bridge." I ignored the sign since it was 6am and I was alone on the trail. There's also a ton of geese and an abundance of good poop all over the trail.
After Aurora it was long stretches of great riding. The trail is pretty smooth throughout. There was only really one small stretch that was very rough. Heading North between mile marker 26 and 27 there was a good 1/4 mile of really bad trail. Other than that I can't complain. You get your typical bumps from tree roots here and there but that's expected on a trail that runs right through heavily wooded areas.
At times this trail can be hard to follow. GOing through Aurora there's a bike lane that's painted green. This lane just suddenly stops and you have to make an immediate left, which isn't marked real well.
Downtown Batavia is another odd stretch. The trail goes along the river and some stores, then comes to a flight of stairs. I had to walk my bike up the stair to get back on the trail. There's side streets you can take to go around but it isn't marked. After you make your way over the bridge you can continue going straight but the trail makes a right turn just before you have to climb a steep hill. I saw another cyclist who missed the unmarked turn as well.
If you're a road biker, I would start north of Aurora. The trail was empty at 6am on a Monday morning and started to pick up between 7 and 8am.
Definitely a trail I will ride again.

Beautiful trail with plenty of water, parks and scenery. This trail connects at many points using roads, sidewalks etc. Directional signage at points of connection are needed. Tip-- at these points, just wait and follow other riders to locate the next trail connection.

I concur with the other 5 star reviews. This trail is wonderful! I read a few of the reviews on this site and they were very helpful in providing information on where to start and finish to get the best of what this trail offers.

My ride was 20 miles round trip - Aurora, through Batavia, ending in Geneva and returning. I started just north of downtown Aurora where Illinois street crosses the trail (next to the river on the east side). I don't believe the trail map shows parking at this spot, but as another reviewer mentioned, there is ample public parking in a safe area. I decided to start at this location and head north to avoid all of the construction going on in downtown Aurora. This starting point also is a pretty, off-road stretch through woods.

A nice feature of this trail is that in several stretches the trail provides the option to travel on either side of the river. So I took advantage of the trail's design and went north on one side of the trail and south on the other side (where possible) on my return trip. Both sides offer unique points of interest and I would strongly recommend taking advantage of both sides of the river to maximize your experience. There are numerous bridges to cross the river and many of them are only for bike & foot traffic.

There are several places to stop should you desire lunch, a bike shop, restroom, or to take in the view along the river. The path takes you by a Japanese styled garden, a large wooden windmill, beautiful homes, wildlife and the quaint towns of Batavia and Geneva.

I plan to return to this trail and take it further north as the reviews are very positive north of Geneva too. Enjoy.


The Fox River trail is IMO the best northern IL has to offer. The stretch between Aurora and Elgin is awesome. Between North Aurora and Batavia the trail travels both sides of the river. Both are nice but I like the east side much better. Same for the Geneva split, the east side is better. This stretch of the trail offers diverse scenery and is an awesome ride. North of Elgin the trail is not as nice but still decent. Because the Aurora to Elgin ride is so nice, and offers a decent length, I do not visit the trail north of Elgin. If you have not visited this trail yet, you need to!

Bear in mind the following while reading my review: I weight 210 pounds and was riding a tight geometry aluminum frame renowned for it's stiffness with 25 mm tires.

I don't recommend this trail for fast riders on road bikes--at least based on my experience on the northern most 10 miles of the trail. The constant seams, bumps and dips make for a really unpleasant ride.

This was nice ride on a cool day; wish I had had something for my ears. The trail is flat and easy. I imagine that in the summer the on-trail temps are comfortably cooler than they are off-trail, as there are long stretches with a canopy of leaves overhead.

I stopped at Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville where I bought a water bottle holder, which was quickly installed for me.

There are some scenic views of the Fox River. The trail has stop signs for cyclists at road crossings, but most times it was the cars that stopped for me. Under the I-90 bridge there is an easy to follow detour due to overhead construction, and in Algonquin there is a detour to on-street cycling, but it lasts just a few hundred yards and is well marked. I turned around at 10.5 miles where the trail runs along a sand pit and operating conveyor belt. The ride was flat and as fast or slow as you'd like it to be.

Only the second trail I've ridden. Kept up much better than the I&M from Utica to Seneca.

Round trip from Batavia through Aurora and back, 22 miles in April 2016 (Very windy day), I look forward to riding other parts of the trail.

Plenty of places to stop, relax, enjoy the scenery, get a drink, restrooms and even stop at an air pump!

I have not been on all the trails you have listed. However, of those I have, I consider this to be the most scenic, adventurous and pleasurable rides, entertaining character, charm and enchantment with dynamics in diverse scenery.

A smooth cruise which I endeavored at least every other weekend, from one rail to the next, usually the Northwest rail line to Cary or Fox River Grove, and across to Geneva over a period of about 5 steady years (2006-2012). A truly good trail.

I rode this at least 3-4 times each month from May through October 2015. I usually begin on the Prairie Trail in Algonquin and ride 10-12 miles south to Veterans Park in Elgin and return the same way. The entire portion is well paved. There are a few street crossings in downtown Carpentersville and Dundee but only one street where you need to wait for a traffic signal. And yes, there is a 100 yard stretch passing under I90 where construction is still ongoing. That said, most of the time you are only a stone's throw from the Fox River and I always find the scenery soothing to the soul. It is a pretty good location for bird watching, and I see deer along the trail at least half the time. The trail is mostly flat, so tends to be an easy ride. Even on a hot summer afternoon there is plenty of shade, so it remains a pleasant ride for the most part. Water and toilets are available in Algonquin and in Elgin, and toilets in Carpentersville.

I ride the Fox River Trail regularly, getting to it on the Gilman Trail and then going either north or south depending on how far I'm looking to ride. I'll write this as though starting at the southern end in Oswego.

The trail begins just north of Washington St. in Hudson Crossing Park. There is lots of parking near the park or at other spots in downtown Oswego. If you need some work done on your bike there's a bike shop just a couple blocks east on Main St. A very short distance from the start the trail makes a left onto a street and stays on-road for about half a mile. These streets get very little traffic and should not pose a safety hazard. Follow the street to the north. There are a couple bends and slightly disjoint intersections. Just stay on Adams St until it ends at 2nd. There is a short, rather steep hill to the continuation of the off-street trail. If you're like me, you'll be very glad to turn onto that trail just before the railroad tracks. The trail stays off-street, with just one road crossing for the next several miles.

A short distance later the trail returns to the side of the river and stays there for quite a ways. There is a small park with lots of parking on SR25 at this point, just a bit north of Oswego. If you really, really hate riding on-street, you could start your ride here. Unfortunately, once this small park is left behind, the trail is a bit of a dichotomy. To the immediate west you have the Fox River and reasonable scenery. To the immediate east you have SR25, just a few feet away, for the next several miles. It could certainly be worse, but this definitely isn't the best part of the trail.

About half a mile north, on the other side of the river, you'll come to the Fox Metro wastewater treatment facility. This will be a recurring theme on this ride. The trail passes much too close to wastewater treatement facilities all the way up the river.

In Montgomery you have to cross the street at Mill St. There's a traffic light here so it's pretty safe. Just keep an eye out for traffic turning left from northbound SR25. The Riverview Restaurant is just across SR25 and a great place for breakfast or lunch.

Once across Mill St. you're riding through parks until just south of downtown Aurora. You go right next to the Montgomery dam and along an island, crossing a bridge shortly before getting to the Gilman Trail. You ride on a parking lot access road up a rather steep hill to get to the Gilman bridge over the Fox. Here the trail briefly merges with the Gilman Trail to cross the Fox River. Just over the river you make a sharp 180 and head back down toward the river, turning left at the bottom of the hill to continue north. There are signs marking both of these turns. Be on alert. There is sometimes glass on the trail through here. I've never seen it really bad, just a few small pieces concentrated in one spot.

Another bridge crossing takes you to Hurds Island. At the north end of the island there's a break in the trail. You need to take city streets for about a mile. Make a left onto North Ave. I highly recommend staying on the sidewalk on the south side of the street here. The sidewalk is rather narrow here on the bridge so you might want to dismount and walk your bike. It's only half a block to River St. where you turn right. Use caution at this intersection. It's hard to see the traffic in the rightmost northbound lane on River so be on the lookout for cars trying to turn right onto North Ave. This intersection is the hardest part of this section. River St. heading north is wide and one-way once you get just a short distance past North Ave. There generally isn't that much traffic through here. You can ride the sidewalk if you feel safer but I've never had any problems riding in the street. The city appears to be in the process of creating segregated bike lanes on River St. It doesn't look like they'll get much, if any, use this year, but things are looking up for 2016 as far as getting through downtown Aurora.

Take a right at the second traffic light, Downer Pl., and then a very quick left into what looks like an alley. If you cross the river you've gone too far. The trail picks up again on the right just after that left turn. This may be a bit confusing because the sidewalk splits right at the point where the curbing provides access. You want the path that's furthest to the right. It immediately begins to descend to river level. Watch your speed through here as there are frequent pedestrians and the sound of the river makes it difficult for them to hear bells or weaker calls of, "On your left." There's a sign near the casino mentioning bike repair. I'm not aware of any bike shop in the immediate vicinity of the sign, but there is a newly opened bike shop back on Downer Pl. just a short distance east from where the off-street portion of the trail picks up again. It's in the first building east of the river on the south side of the street.

About half a mile north of downtown you'll come to Illinois Ave. There are a number of places to park in this area if you'd prefer to start your ride here. Use extreme caution when crossing Illinois Ave. There is a crosswalk and flashing caution lights to alert cars to pedestrians, but I can say from personal experience that it's a toss up as to whether the drivers will pay any notice. Ironically, the admin office for the Fox Valley Park District, which maintains this part of the trail, is on the north side of Illinois Ave., literally a stone's throw from this rather dangerous crossing. For much of the 2015 riding season the caution lights at this crossing were non-functional. They have been working for the last month or so, but don't count on them. Dismounting and walking across the street would not be unwise.

North of Illinois Ave. the trail moves away from the river just a bit and there is some nice tree cover. There are sometimes massive swarms of gnats through this stretch, depending on time of season. Glasses and nose breathing are highly recommended.

About a mile further north the trail crosses under the bridge on Indian Trail. This bridge has been under construction for over a year and I don't think they're very close to completion. The construction company is doing a decent job of keeping the trail passable, but you are riding on dirt for a couple hundred feet. Go slow and use caution, particularly if it has rained recently.

About a quarter mile north of the I-88 undercrossing there's another bike shop. It's directly opposite a small brick facility housing a North Aurora pump station. You can't see it very well from the trail but there's a paved access path with a sign for the shop right off the trail.

Another half mile and you come to the SR56 bridge, just south of the North Aurora dam. If you still haven't eaten, Harner's Bakery Restaurant is on the south side of SR56 just to the west of the trail. I'm told their cinnamon bread French toast is excellent. They also have a great bakery counter if you want to pick up something for a later snack.

From SR56 the trail has both an east and west branch so you can ride either side of the river. I always ride north on the west side and usually return on the east side. I'm going to describe it in that order but you can ride north on the east side if you'd like. Just cross over the river on the SR56 bridge. The trail meets the road on the north side just east of the bridge, initially going through a small park next to the dam.

Continuing on the west side of the river, once the trail passes under SR56 you quickly get back to tree cover and it stays largely like that for the 3-1/2 miles to Batavia. The first sign of Batavia is when the trail comes alongside a road, right by the Quarry Park beach pool. If it's summer you might want to stop and have a look at the pool. It has a nice sand beach around the pool.

Past the pool the trail goes on-street for a block and then forks to the right for an up close and personal look at the Batavia sanitation treatment plant. (I told you this would be a recurring theme.) Just past the sanitation plant there is an opportunity to cross over the river on pedestrian/bike bridges to the east branch of the trail.

Continuing on the west side of the river, there is a short bit of trail right next to the river but I recommend staying on Shumway Ave. You have to cut back to Shumway anyway before you get to Wilson St. Now we get to the biking mess that is downtown Batavia. As I write this Batavia is in the middle of a long term construction project that has disrupted the primary biking path through downtown on the west side of the river. You would ordinarily continue on Shumway across Wilson and then pick up the trail again at Houston. But Houston is closed to all traffic due to construction. There is a path through the park behind the police station just past Houston that looks promising but the western side where it would meet up with the continuation of the Fox River Trail ends in a stairway. It is possible to walk/carry a bike up the stairs but I don't recommend it. Instead, make a left from Shumway on Wilson. Or go across Wilson and stop at the ice cream shop, then go west on Wilson. Go past McDonald's to Water St. and make a right. You'll hit some more construction at Houston, but you can bear left a bit and continue on Water St. Just past Houston there's a temporary connector path back to the main trail.

The next big feature to the north is Fabyan Park. There's a nice garden here. Be very careful about pedestrians through here. There are some features right off the path that are popular backgrounds for photos and people are frequently too engrossed in having their picture taken to keep a look out for bicycles. The Fabyan Villa Museum is right here as well. I've never stopped, but it might make for a nice chance to get off the bike for a while.

The west side trail ends here, with the trail crossing to the east side of the river. There are a couple signs in this area saying something about bridge construction, suggesting the bridge might be closed. Pay them no heed. They've been there a long time and I don't think they're even talking about the bike bridge. The trail crosses over the river right by the Fabyan Windmill. There are a lot of picnic tables in this area. It's a very scenic spot for a break. On some weekends the windmill is open to visitors and may even be in operation. I've seen it turning a couple times.

Continuing north from the windmill the trail enters a nice wooded area for a short stretch, all too quickly coming upon yet another, you guessed it, sanitation plant. This one for the city of Geneva. The trail gets narrow through here and there's often a lot of traffic on weekends. Just past the sanitation plant is a covered bridge back to the west side of the river. Unless you want a quick route to downtown Geneva, keep going straight. Immediately ahead is Island Park. I find this a very relaxing place to take a break. There are lots of benches and picnic tables scattered about. The river and downtown Geneva are quite scenic. There is also a public restroom in a building right next to the trail.

Heading north out of Island Park the trail goes to roadside sidewalk for about two blocks before heading back toward the river. About a mile further the trail cuts across SR25. This is a very busy street and aside from some striped lines in the street you're on your own to cross. On the other side of the street the trail moves away from the river for a few blocks, eventually re-crossing SR25 and returning to the water. Instead of the odd path the trail takes, once across the street you can take a shortcut across a bit of grass and ride the sidewalk a couple blocks to where the trail re-crosses SR25. If you do, however, you'll miss out on riding right past the St. Charles sanitation plant. I think that may be why the trail makes the detour it does, just so yet another sanitation plant can be included on this tour.

At this point you're well into the city of St. Charles and the trail closely follows SR25. I've not gone any further north than the Illinois Ave. bridge in St. Charles. According to the map you're on-street for several blocks before rejoining the off-street trail.

When I've made it as far north as St. Charles I've turned around and re-traced my route back to the Fabyan Windmill. From Fabyan south to North Aurora the trail has branches on both sides of the river. I always return south on the eastern branch.

Heading south on the east side of the river, when you get close to downtown Batavia the trail moves onto the River St. sidewalk and eventually on to River St. itself. The sidewalk is rather narrow and a very tight fit if there are riders going in both directions. I generally take to the street through here. This piece of road is fairly wide, with a low speed limit and very little traffic.

Rejoining the off-street trail on the east side of the river in downtown Batavia is a bit tricky. The maps show the trail picking up again right next to Pal Joey's restaurant by the pedestrian/bike bridge over the river. It technically does reach that point, but the only connection is via a stairway down to river level. There is no street level access to the trail north of Wilson St. Trust me, I've looked. Ignore the maps and continue on River St. across Wilson St. You can rejoin the trail through a parking lot on the right just a short way past the intersection. Toward the southern end of this parking lot is another bike shop should you need repairs or just want to shop.

Continuing south, the trail makes a slight detour around Funway. You can actually cut through the Funway parking lot if you prefer. Or stop for a while and have some fun. They have lots of different amusements -- go-carts, miniature golf, bumper cars, video games.

About a tenth of a mile south of Funway you come to an unsigned fork in the trail. You want to take the right fork. The left fork is the beginning of the Batavia spur of the Illinois Prairie Path. The only sign near this intersection is a small one a bit down the Prairie Path announcing what trail it is. If you find yourself on a long gentle incline through a suburban area you've taken the wrong fork.

The second trail intersection to the south is another one that's unmarked. Again, you want to keep to the right. This one isn't so tragic if you make the wrong choice. You'll quickly find yourself in a parking lot with the trail down a short grassy hill to the right. Ride down the hill or go to the end of the parking lot where there's a connector back to the trail.

Just south of here you'll enter a wooded area that is probably the nicest section of the whole trail south of St. Charles. The trail makes a number of elevation changes through here. There are a lot of walking trails and people gazing at trees and not looking out for bicyclists. There are signs warning cyclists to slow for pedestrian traffic. You'd be well advised to follow this suggestion. Toward the end of the wooded section is a longer downhill where it's possible to pick up quite a bit of speed. Be careful because there's a curve at the bottom of the hill where the trail is a bit narrow and it's hard to see if there are riders or pedestrians coming the other direction. I usually love the speed, but I ride the brakes on this downhill because of the traffic and curve at the bottom.

The trail soon returns to the North Aurora dam. If you need to continue further south you'll have to cross the bridge on SR56 to the west side of the river. You can ride the sidewalk across the bridge or take to the street. The street has plenty of room for both cars and bikes, with the traffic moving at 25 MPH through here. Once over the river you re-trace your route further south.

This trail has a few less than scenic sections and some potentially confusing disjoint pieces, but, overall, it's one of my favorite local rides. I like that it stretches out far enough that I can ride as far as I want and still be mostly on off-street trail that's in decent shape. There are pretty, wooded residential and wilderness areas mixed with more urban areas with shopping, restaurants, and bathrooms. The good far outweighs the bad.

Our group of four parked at East Dundee and rode north to Algonquin and back. We loved the scenery especially going over the many bridges. Nicely paved trail. Perfect day.

During the summer this trail can be extremely busy with all sorts of different activities which as a biker really slows you down. Other than in a couple areas the trail is well marked although it is a bit confusing to be riding on the sidewalks in Elgin. The trail was closed for some repairs so I ended up going on the Prairie Path for a while before turning back. All in all it was a flat relatively easy ride that was slowed down a bit by the many groups of people.

This trail is scenic at places but poor signage, construction/detours and bumpy surfaces kill the fun. In my opinion, signage is better from Aurora to Elgin vs Elgin to Aurora.

A large part of the trail around Elgin/South Elgin is closed. People ride around the chains, barriers and fences but it's certainly closed. It was closed at least a year ago (last time I rode), so it's been a while. {arts north of State Street in South Elgin are also not well maintained (though other parts are great).

At the moment there is also a tree the trail (just North of State Street).

Very sad, because it's a really nice location. But seems like the state/county just can't get it together.

We rode today from Oswego to ST. Charles..the path was great but when we got near a town the signage was terribel--we were often confused about where the trail ended and where it started again....we had problems in Aurora, Batavia and Geniva..luckily we turned around in St. Charles....great path but needs better directions and signs

Yes You can get your Work out on! And it is addicting on this trail, I take my neighbors son and My son and we go 44 miles to and from and that's from Aurora to Elgin, You can get a parking spot On Illinois Street, And Start your Ride there, Hikers, Bikes, Dog Walkers alike enjoy this path. Parks picnic Tables, Bike shops, Even One bike shop Called SPOKED UP! They do free air, and You may purchase Water there and also free Bike safety checks they are also fun and friendly there.. Pack a picnic and head to St. Charles and Chill near the River people watching, pedal boats, and the River boat that operates around 2:30 pm on weekends... Enjoy the Free Happiness.

We Come in on Illinois st. there is a parking lot
and you also have access to Illinois Prairie Path, as well. Which is Over the Bridge. I can say It is the most tranquil, along the Fox River, There are bugs so wear some sunglasses. We Pack a Lunch and Head to St. Charles in time to sit and watch the pedal boats, and Children play, Plenty of Benches, Not to many Rude bikers on this path, lotsa friendly bikers and A mix between family, Serious enthusiasts, Hikers and Dog Walkers also can enjoy the path. Just be patient of the Bikers and Bring a Friend! YOu can take it a straight shot ant it will take you to Batavia for IceCream!
Or YOu can Go over the River on the Bridge and Head down cross the Street over on Route 56 a.k.a. Butterfield Road and Hitch the straight shot filled with Hills and they are fun and curvy, To Elgin and More! We want to try new Trails as well.

We entered this trail from the Prarie Trail and went to the I90 bridge. The path is paved , except for a few spots where there was a drainage pipe underneath. There were walkers, joggers, family bikers, and serious riders. It was a gorgeous day over Memorial weekend and the trail wasn't too crowed. The scenery was beautiful and there are several spots to pull off right next to the river, local places to eat, and even a bike shop. I have already started to recommend this trail to friends!

This is a fun local bike trail that offers great scenery. I ride this trail at least three times per year. Fall is wonderful.

I ride this trail pretty regularly from East Dundee to Crystal Lake, and have taken it as far north as the Wisconsin border. It turns to crushed limestone and some gravel when you get past McHenry. But it's a nicely maintained paved trail south of McHenry.

There's a great spot to rent bikes in Carpentersville on the trail at Main Street Bicycles. Best bike shop along the trail with very friendly service.

My wife and I rode this trail for the first time today. The trail is well maintained, even to blowing the leaves off. We started in West Dundee and rode north to Algonquin. The trees are starting turn, it was a very nice ride.

I have ridden this trail many times from North Aurora to Crystal Lake in the last 8 years and it has never lost its charm. It runs next to the Fox River where you can enjoy beautiful scenery as well as egrets, herons, cormorants and even bald eagles. The trail runs on both sides of the river from North Aurora to Geneva. Be sure to stop and visit the Japanese Garden at the Fabyan Estate in Geneva on the west side of the river. The towns of Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles all have great places to stop and eat. Try riding the section of the trail from the Elgin library to Crystal Lake. The paved trail is flat and smooth and well maintained. Any part of the Fox River Trail in this area makes for a great ride.

A portion of this path is closed near the I-90 bridge. Info can be found here:
http://www.illinoistollway.com/documents/10157/3a7246aa-8e96-4368-8f4f-3196cbbab11a

Started @ Hotel Baker in St. Charles and headed south to Geneva for a bathroom break @ Mill Race Cyclery (also have an outdoor cafe available). Headed further south to Batavia, where we grabbed a bite to eat @ O' Sole Mio (great Italian food w/ huge gelato selection!!). From St. Charles to Batavia & back -- approx. 15.85 mi.

I was riding the trail today and there is a sign that says the trail will be closed June 6th. Nothing about what they are doing or where north of Trout park the trail would be open again. I tried searching on the internet and found nothing on this trail closure.

Went out Friday Oct. 18, cold but still a great ride. Good restaurants along the trail, great scenery and great diversity. C. G.

One of the best parts of this ride is the diversity. You can be on a tree shaded path, along houses, passing a field, along the river, or in a town. It can be tough to build any rhythm because of driveways and small road crossings, but it's a great ride and you won't be bored. I think it's a great ride to focus more on the scenery and sites than your speed. Lot's of good places to eat too.

Went out last week from Oswego to Batavia and back. Parking was easy in Oswego at Harrison Park. The trail starts there but does get confusing having to ride through residential neighborhoods for the 1st mile. after that you are along a roadway with the river on your left side going north for awhile. Going through downtown Aurora you will also be on surface streets for about a mile. After you clear downtown Aurora it is really nice going under I-88 now on the left side of the river. Took me 1.5 hours north into a 11 mph NNW wind. 53 mins south. I rode 13.1 miles each way. Paved the entire way.

Went out for 30 miles from the Prisco Center (Illinois St.) in Aurora to Red Gate Rd just north of St. Charles and back. I got caught in a thunderstorm, and I was able to take shelter in a shelterhouse for about 15 minutes until the storm passed. This is a beautiful ride and the asphalt trail is very well maintained. There are some dining places that you can see from the trail in Geneva and St Charles.

Love this trail! Great for distance and hill training.

Since first riding this trail with my daughters and the YMCA Indian Guide Program every Fall years ago, we have come to make it frequent trip several times a year. Great places to stop, lots of shade, and enough crossovers on the river to vary the trip from time to time. It hooks into the Geneva Spur of the Illinois Prairie Path, the Batavia Spur, the Gilman Trail and gives you lots of options for varying your trip. I can't imagine another path with so many options and great stopping points.

My husband and I enjoyed the Fox River Trail and would definitely ride it again! We started in Aurora and rode just beyond St. Charles. I would like to let other riders know about certain things we encountered to better help them with their ride. Watch out for squirrels and little chipmunk squirrels that can dart out on the path at anytime! This is something I never encountered before on other paths. Also, we encountered ducks and geese on several parts of the path that do not seem to care whether they cross or are on the path at anytime. This did make it hard when we built up speed, then suddenly had to brake because of these ducks and geese! This path is full of curves, so please be careful! It is really awesome! Another thing we encountered was a sign by the river, in Batavia, that stated bike riders stay to the left. We stayed to the left, and then the path dead-ended by some stairs, so we had to turn around and get back on the path via the street. At one point, just past St. Charles, we lost the path and were headed into a subdivision on another path. That was a bummer, but we turned around there anyway and headed over to St. Charles for a bite to eat before heading back to Aurora. Later, when we had the opportunity to check out the map, we found out that we had lost the path there, and we were not on the Fox River Trail. Yet, all in all the Fox River Trail was a beautiful experience full of quaint towns, picturesque scenery, wildlife, and people in their day-to-day life around the river. I would highly recommend this path!

From: The Winfield Post
http://www.winfieldpost.com/alternative-traffic-report/

'Users of the IPP Elgin Branch will find smooth brand new surface and underpasses beneath both Stearns Road and Rte. 25 on the approach to the Fox River Trail at South Elgin. At the northern end of the Elgin Branch, the Fox River Trail remains closed where flooding from two years ago has damaged the bridge on the east side of the river.

'“It washed out the bridge footings and caused the bridge to slump,” Forest Preserve District of Kane County Director of Operations and Maintenance Michael A. Holan said. Bridge repairs have been held up due to poor soil conditions.

'“We have been working with an engineering company to get bid specifications and documents to repair the bridge,” Holan said. “Unfortunately due to some unforeseen poor soil conditions the engineering company was not able to draw up specifications and has deferred to another engineering company that specializes in the design that will be needed. They are about half complete with their specifications at which time they will need to be combined with the original engineers’ site survey and a specially designed bracket to hold the bridge to a driven pile footing.”'

Info regarding IPP or Fox River path:
http://www.kaneforest.com/publications/releases.aspx

I'm originally from Crystal lake and I remember when I was in high school (early 90's) a patch of rails was turned into a biking trail and I remember riding it to Algonquin. Is this the same trail or is the trail to CL a spur of the Fox River Trail??

The new Hwy 25 underpasses and resurfacing at the Illinois Prairie Path-Elgin Branch near the intersection with the Fox River Trail are great. But the Fox River Trail headed south from South Elgin is still closed as of June 1. Does anyone have any information about the future of that part of the trail?

Just recently they have made a new path connecting Fox River Trail to the IL Prairie Path it follows the new stern road bridge/route 25 that they have built. They are also saying their going to build a park buy where the bridge starts on the east side. It's also about a mile and half and all asphalt. Buy the connection with the IPP there are two tunnels so you do not have to cross streets expect for one which is more of a side street but i does have i light. By making this path it makes a bout a 8mile ring around the east side of South Elgin. It connects two great paths and makes a great quick ride.

This is a world class trail. I have ridden almost every route and spur from the FRT. The trail goes from Oswego to Wisconsin (after McHenry, the last 7 1/2/miles, the trail is hard packed dirt (but worth it)). Lots of great places to stop about every 3-4 miles. There are a couple of bike shops along the way. btw, geneva has the mill race cyclery, they have ice cream.

Unfortunately, this trail is in bad shape. The following sections are closed and I have not been able to find out when or if they will be opened again:
- From SEBA Park in South Elgin going South toward St. Charles
- From SEBA Park in South Elgin going north for about 5 miles. Then after about another 5 miles, the path is also closed by the bridge. Half of the width of the path fell into the river.

This is the 2nd summer that the south section and the north section by the bridge have been closed.
The north section by SEBA park was just recently blocked out.

I love this path. It is very sad to see that nothing was done to repair it.

The trail actually goes farther south than Aurora. When you reach Aurora, take Broadway along the East side of the Fox River, and after you cross the Gilman Trail, the Fox River Trail continues south into Oswego 5 more miles.

Rode from St. Charles to Batavia on Oct. 9, very pretty views along the river, route was smooth with numeous parks to stop at if so inclined.

My girlfriend and I rode an easy 10 miles from Algolquin to Elgin this Saturday starting late afternoon. The trail was flat, nearly empty, and there were pit stops and enough variety to make it an enjoyable ride. You ride in the shade a great deal of time because there's plenty of trees.

For portions of the trail, there are parallel sections on both sides of the river. The map does not show the sections where the trail is on both sides of the river. Also, along the eastern side of the river, the path has a gap in it around St. Charles and the route is directed along some streets. The map on this site does not have this somewhat confusing section mapped entirely correctly.

This trail is a nice trail for
new riders. Best section of the trail between Elgin and
Crystal Lake. Very many hills
north of Crsytal Lake and South of Elgin

"This trail was largely constructed in the 1980s and some sections have not been resurfaced since. Watch for occasional bumpy stretches. For being in the Chicago suburbs, it has some good scenery. There are a few road crossings that require extreme caution like Main st in Carpenterville, IL 72 in East Dundee, and multiple crossings of IL 25 between St Charles and Geneva. "

My wife and myself are from Indiana. The Fox River Trail
was a great one day bike journey. little confusing on directions at times. We will ride again in the spring.
A great trail

Prepare to encounter some steep hills on this trail. There's quite a bit of street and sidewalk riding along this path. I try to avoid crossing major streets when possible and it was unavoidable on this trail.

"If you liked this trail in August, try it in October!!"

"My husband and I rode the trail from Oswego to Crystal Lake on July 31, 2004. It was a beautiful day, there were some nice changes in scenery and overall this was a very enjoyable trail.

I would concur, however, that the signage was difficult to follow, especially in and around Aurora and in a couple other segments of the trail.

Much appreciation to everyone who helps keep this trail maintained."

"My husband and I attempted to start at the beginning of the trail in Aurora, however, there isn't a clear beginning posted in Aurora or on the map on their website. The entire trail lacks signage that can steer a bicyclist through the towns it passes through. At times the trail flip flops from the west side to the east side.

We found our way by default-backtracking and retracing what we thought should be the correct way to go. You wouldn't think a fairly straight north and south trail could be so troublesome. If you want to do some longer miles on this trail be prepared to do a little backtracking. Also, better bicycle crossings across the main roads in Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles would be a great benefit."

"My wife and rode the Fox River Trail in early May 2004, from Aurora to the Tekakwitha Woods Nature Center. It was a terrific ride. I would recommend this ride to anyone."

Starting in aurora this trail connects to the McHenry trail and beyond into souther WI if so desired. Plenty of scenery. If opting for an impromptu off road yet paved century try doing it during the week when there are less people outside enjoying the riverfront. Also beware of a confusing detour in Elgin that takes you on downtown streets.

"Beginning at Aurora (which we recommend), this is one of the more ""creative"" bike trails in the country. Scenery varies quite a lot, and if you're house freaks (we are), you'll have a chance to see a tremendous variety of riverside architecture along with the natural wonders. The north end is not quite as interesting as the south, but overall this is a fine ride. The ride is never difficult. "

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