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The Paul Douglas and Crabtree Preserve Trail System connects two large nature preserves in northwestern Cook County.
The trail begins at the Old Stover Trailhead in the Crabtree Preserve, near the Nature Center – popular for its various programs and amenities. This western section of the trail passes through quiet preserve lands, on the way to Barrington Road. Then the trail continues eastward along Algonquin Road to Freeman Road, where it meets the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve Trail.
From this northwest corner of the Paul Douglas Trail, one can follow it on across a northern section all the way to Ela Road, where it connects to the Palatine Trail. A longer, U-shaped portion of the Paul Douglas Trail goes south along Freeman Road, then east along Central Road, and back north along Roselle Road to end again at Algonquin Road. Along the way it passes the Grassy Ridge Meadow Trailhead and the Highland Woods Golf Course.
Although the Paul Douglas Trail runs close to city streets and roads, it is far enough removed for one to fully enjoy being close to nature. The paved trail over gentle, rolling
Parking for the Paul Douglas and Crabtree Preserve Trail System can be found on the south side of Palatine Road, across from the entrance to the Crabtree Nature Center. Parking is also available at the entrance to the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve off Central Road (east of Freeman Road).
This trail is not the best for walking, as so much of it (probably 85% or so) is roadside. There are some nice vistas, but the majority is cars whizzing past.
Not the stretch along Algonquin Road. But the sections through the two Forest Preserves are really nice. It's amazing how one can feel so far away from noise and bustle, when streets, roads and highways are so close at hand.
We liked parking at the Crabtree Nature Center, as there are clean restrooms, water and shelter all together there. It's a great place to rest and refresh a bit. We were happy to see this trail's connection to the southern part of the Palatine Trail. After we rode this trail and Palatine South, we drove up and rode Palatine North and the Deer Grove Trail that connects with it. These are two great trail combinations close together in Palatine.
The hills are pretty intense if your carrying a trailer. Out side of that, not too bad.
Did not like having to cross busy roads.
We went into this thinking there were no roads to cross. Not fun doing it with children.
We have now been to this forest Preserve twice and really enjoyed the trail. It is pretty well kept and very beautiful along the way. The only thing not so good is not much restroom facilities. We also did the Palatine trail through town and will never do that one again. The bike route signs are confusing and if I wanted to ride in town I can do that in my neighborhood. We did find the Paul Douglas trail after doing the Palatine Trail route. We parked at Harper College and started from there. We really enjoy our bike ride through the Forest Preserve and will recommend it to our friends!
The surface is in good condition, only it needs to be swept clean. Luckily I did not encounter glass, but there was a lot of loose asphalt gravel especially in those sections closest to the roads. This path runs along busy roads for most of its length and there are a few crossings to contend with. But it's pretty level and does not present any tough conditions for casual riders. I did not see convenient restroom facilities anywhere along the path. Nevertheless, it's a good short loop to use on a windy day so you aren't constantly fighting a headwind.
That said, I drove 15 miles to try this path out and would not do it again. It's a good asset for locals, but not worth a special trip, imho. You never for a moment forget you're deep in the suburbs and, frankly, just a few minutes west are several superior paths in a less hectic setting.
I had been here once before but was immediately put off by the fact that there is a huge section of the trail that is along Algonquin Road. And so I never returned here. Preffered to go to Busse Woods. But since this trail is so close to where I live, I decided to go back and try it once again. After I completed the loop I realized I made a mistake by not coming here more often. It really is very, very beautiful with some gentle rolling hills perfect for biking. One of my favorite parts: there is a point where you're on the western part of the trail going south along Huntington and around the Mundhank Road intersection you come upon this magnificent view looking downhill. Now mind you, this isn't the Swiss Alps, but I was surprise at how picturesque it was given that this is Cook County, the flattest of all counties in the US. I will definitely come back here more often, maybe just do the forest preserve part back and forth and avoid going onto to Algonquin Road. Yes!
Here is a video I made of my ride...
There are few place you can park to enjoy the trail:
1. There is a parking at entrance to the Crabtree Preserve. Parking is on the south side of the street on Palatine Road.
2. Parking is also available at the south entrance of Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. Entrance is from the Central Road, about a mile from Roselle Road and about half mile from Huntington Road.
This is a good trail to walk or bike if you live around. There is an extension westbound from the map showing into all the way to Crabtree Forest Preserve, South Barrington, all paved. Also, the map is not showing the link but on the Algonquin Road, between Ela Road and Roselle Rd, there is a connecting path so the Paul Douglas trail so the trail is a complete loop.
East bound from Barrington Road along the Algonquin Road, all the way to Roselle Road is right along the Algonquin Road so the traffic noise level is high. Also to note that crossing in front of Willow Creek Church at south entrance is quite dangerous that there is a small hill west of the intersection. Eastbound cars coming is not visible and cars travel fast, around 50 MPH on the Algonquin Road. Do not cross the intersection without using the pedestrian signal.
If you walk/bike the Paul Douglas Preserve loop, that is about 8 miles. If you are going to the Crabtree Forest Preserve from the loop, that is about 4.5 miles.
Trail is not extremely long but a nice trail for a quick ride after work. Trail not difficult to ride. A little confusing due to poor trail marking when you get to Algonquin road at Roselle Road.
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