- Find a Trail
- My TrailLink
- Explore Trails
- About Us
- Get Involved
The Robert McClory Bike Path runs the length of Lake County, knitting together a string of communities on the north shore of Chicago all the way to the Wisconsin border. In 1997, the trail was named after a Republican congressman who served the area for 20 years.
The 25-mile bike path primarily follows the route of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, which expanded all the way to Milwaukee in 1919 as an electric interurban freight and passenger railroad. It ceased operations in 1963 after ridership declined. The trail also uses low-traffic city streets. A Metra commuter railway connects Chicago to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Union Pacific Railroad tracks that parallel much of the trail.
The trail surface consists of asphalt in the south; concrete where the path leaves the rail corridor and follows city streets; and a finely screened limestone that offers a good, hard base for most trail uses in the north. It’s hemmed in by residential and commercial districts, though it does pass some parks and forest preserves. In the south, the trail connects with the Green Bay Trail at the county line, while in the north it meets the Kenosha County Bike Trail at the state line. US Bicycle Route 37 and the Grand Illinois Trail both occupy parts of the trail.
Beginning in the south at the Braeside Metra Station, you’ll ride 2.5 miles through a wooded linear park alongside the tracks until you reach a commuter parking lot in central Highland Park. You’ll then have to take St. Johns Avenue (there are sidewalks) 0.7 mile to Vine Avenue, turn left, and go one block to a ramp to return to the trail.
You’ll return to a parklike corridor for another 0.6 mile, then take a slight detour by turning right onto Bloom Street. Go 0.2 mile, turn left onto St. Johns Avenue, and go another 0.2 mile to return to the Robert McClory Bike Path adjacent to Walker Avenue.
For the next 1.5 miles, the trail skirts old Fort Sheridan, a historical garrison decommissioned by the U.S. Army and transformed into a fashionable neighborhood. You’ll find hiking and biking trails within the 230-acre historic district; another 250 acres is in forest preserve.
Crossing Sheridan Road, you’ll return to the old railroad right-of-way that runs through a wooded corridor next to Metra through Lake Forest and Lake Bluff (the junction for the east-west North Shore Bike Path is here) for the next 7.2 miles to North Chicago. Here the trail takes a ramp over a highway, loses Metra, and enters a warehouse and light-industrial district for a few blocks.
For the next 12 miles to the Wisconsin border, the bike path corridor is pleasantly wide. Mile markers are visible north of Waukegan. Another unique feature is the number of community gardens that appear mile after mile, adding a charming country touch to the urban atmosphere.
Parks and open spaces become more prevalent farther north. The trail meets the Kenosha County Bike Trail on a pedestrian bridge spanning Russell Road at the state line. That trail continues another 4.5 miles into Kenosha.
To reach the southern end of the Robert McClory Bike Path: From I-94 W, take Exit 29 for US 41/Skokie Hwy. In 0.7 mile, take the Lake Cook Road exit and head east. Go 1.3 miles, and turn left onto Blackhawk Road or St. Johns Ave. Look for parking at the Braeside Metra Station. (Parking is extremely limited and expensive; consider taking your bicycle on board a Metra train.)
To reach the northern end of the Robert McClory Bike Path at the state line: From I-94, take Exit 1 for Russell Road, and head east. Go 4.9 miles and turn right onto N. Lewis Ave. Go 1 mile and turn left onto W. Ninth St. In 0.4 mile turn right onto W. Broadway Ave. Look for parking on the left side of the road. The bike path crosses W. Ninth St. just around the corner; the state line is 1 mile north.
TrailLink is a free service provided by Rails-to-Trails conservancy
(a non-profit) and we need your support!