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The Ridgefield Trace is a multi-use pathway that runs through suburban Crystal Lake, Illinois. The trail takes its name from the original Indian trace that once ran along the route of what is now US-14, which the paved trail runs alongside of. Originally built in two disconnected segments, the trail was later connected with a crossing over the active Metra railroad tracks, and extended out to reach the outskirts of the community of Woodstock, bringing the trail to a length of about seven miles.
The eastern end of the trail occupies a ComEd electric utility corridor that offers wide open views of rural northern Illinois countryside, before joining up with the highway around McHenry County College - providing a great option for commuting students from Crystal Lake and Woodstock. Also on the southeastern end in Veteran Acres Park, you'll find a nature center, athletic fields, restrooms, picnic shelters and a playground. Just east of the park, you can connect to the Prairie Trail, a scenic 28-mile rail-trail.
The northwestern end of the trail doesn't offer much in the way of scenery, navigating through off-highway suburban development before coming to an end outside the massive Walmart complex, but the pathway does offer a good deal of flat, smooth trail - and a connection into the heart of Woodstock via the sidewalk that continues along Lake Avenue.
Parking is available in Veteran Acres Park (431 Walkup Road) on the east end of the trail. In the west, park at McHenry County College off US 14.
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