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The village of Palatine has connected many of its community assets with two long sections of off-road, multi-use trail. The more popular northern section is the one most references call simply and exclusively the ‘Palatine Trail.’ But both sections are of similar length, managed by the Palatine Park District, and connected with a marked on-street bike route.
Each section of the Palatine Trail also connects directly with trails through area forest preserves: The northern section connects with the Deer Grove Trail; the southern section, with the Algonquin Road Trail/Paul Douglas Forest Preserve Trail.
Northern Section: The northern section of trail begins in the west with a short sidewalk passage along Dundee Road, connecting the forest preserve trail with Palatine's only section of rail-trail—a north-south alignment of the old Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad. Opened in 1912, the PLZ&W was an 11-mile, short-line (and short-lived) railroad providing freight and commuter service to these three towns.
The rail-trail part of this trail is heavily wooded and hilly in places. On eastward from there, the trail passes a lovely park and golf course area. Then it's on to an open electric utility corridor, running west to east for the long middle part of the trail. This is punctuated only by a turn to approach the safe-passage viaduct under heavily trafficked Hicks Road. To the west of the viaduct is a bit of wooded trail and a spur to the public library; to the east, it's one block of houses along the road, then back to open trail again.
Towards its eastern end, the trail turns back to the south for a short neighborhood passage. There's a lake, a park, trees and open areas before the trail comes to an end at a small school and playground.
Southern Section: The southern section of the trail begins in the west with a long, straight stretch along Algonquin Road. As the trail turns to go around Harper College, it passes a small reservoir that is stocked with fish and attracts local fishermen. On to the north, there is a trail spur that continues to an equally beautiful Peregine Lake. Back to the main trail, it runs along busy Euclid Avenue for a ways, then turns to run through a neighborhood of apartments and on to connect even more neighborhoods and their amenities.
There is on-street parking near the trail in many locations throughout the village of Palatine. For the northern trail section, there's lot parking at the park where the trail crosses Palatine Hills Drive (off US Route 14/Northwest Highway). For the southern trail section, there's lot parking adjacent to the trail at Harper College (off IL Route 68/Algonquin Road).
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