Thorn Creek Trail


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Thorn Creek Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Cook
Length: 17.2 miles
Trail end points: Brownwell Woods (Thornton) and Sauk Trail Woods Forest Preserve (Chicago Heights)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6487261
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Thorn Creek Trail Description

The Thorn Creek Trail offers a paved route traversing woodlands abundant with wildlife through several communities on the southern outskirts of Chicago.  The trail travels from Brownwell Woods in Thornton, through Glenwood Woods and Joe Orr Woods. The Thorn Creek Trail connects to the eastern end of the Old Plank Road Trail and ends in the Sauk Trail Woods Forest Preserve in Chicago Heights.

Parking and Trail Access

On the trail's north end, parking is available in Wapum Lake Woods off Glenwood-Lansing Road just west of Torrence Avenue/Rt. 83 and off Cottage Grove Avenue just south of 183rd Street.

On its south end, park in Sauk Woods off Forest Preserve Drive north of 30th Street and off W. 26th Street west of Euclid Avenue.

Midway, there is parking in Joe Orr Woods off E. Joe Orr Road.

Thorn Creek Trail Reviews

Great trail! Well-paved without damage. Lots of trees and turns. Not boring and straight like many city trails. Thorn Creek travels through woods, meadows, and some suburbia. Watch your map so you don't end up going off on one of the many offshoots.

Decided to do this trail instead of the Old Plank Trail. Much better than the long straight trail. Many winding turns, the loop through the Preserve at the end is a nice turn around spot. Signage could be a little better though.

In October 2017 three of us rode the Thorn Creek Trail west to east. We marveled at its excellent surface (smooth, no potholes or root bumps) and mostly level route. Signage was excellent, with large area maps periodically, As other reviewers noted, most sections are in trees. Worth noting are several large meadows you ride through or along - very pretty. The Trail connects to Old Plank on the west and other trails to the east, so you can easily ride a day end to end on several trails. The icing on the cake (as it were) was a stop @ Calumet Bakery on Torrance Avenue. Bottom line: congrats to the folks who planned and implemented the trail. We'll be back!


biked the trail Sat 4/8/17. as previously stated, asphalt was in excellent shape, no root bumps or gopher holes. also as stated, trees blocked most of the 15+ mph winds, only a few exposed meadows. should be shaded most of the way during the summer. several parking areas, all w clean port-o-sans. tons of buttercups already up, will ride again this weekend as lots of wildflower habitat that should fill with trilliums and such in the coming weeks. almost no traffic, much better than slogging through the crowds on the lakefront. Glenwood Oaks was a great stop for lunch, and Calumet Bakery for post-ride refuel - grab a nut roll for breakfast. we came from downtown, was a half hour drive to Lansing Woods parking lot at 186th & Torrence. started down the Old Plank Trail but turned back as it was strewn w broken bottles. Thorn Creek is a great trail.

Black Friday and this was a great way to spend it. We started at the northern end just off route 83. Plenty of parking too. The asphalt is in fantastic condition and the trail despite a few busy road crossovers was scenic. What a way to escape the hustle and bustle my husband was thrilled when we came to the bridge built just for pedestrians that crossed over the train tracks. My husband the train nut was excited to get to see the Union Pacific pass under us too. At the southern end we ended up in the Sauk Valley preserve that is a treasure. Great job connecting all the parks and preserves. We could have even ridden the Old Plank Road Trail since we passed right by in Chicago Heights.

what a nice trail! Love the woods! If you are concerned with wind, this trail is for you. the trees block them. However, be aware that if you drive your car to the parking areas in the forest preserves, they do not open until around 7 am. Otherwise, you will need to find a place on neighboring streets.

I read that there is parking by:
Wampum Lake Woods
598 Thornton Lansing Rd
Thornton, IL 60476
...that is true.
BUT the BIKE TRAIL does NOT go all the way to Wampum Lake.
It comes from Lansing and goes to:
Sweet Woods
Cottage Grove Ave
Glenwood, IL 60425
where there is parking. The bike trail also goes south & west all the way to Sauk Trail & Western Ave.
Forest preserve at Wampum Lake has a nice picnic area & trails around the small lake. Shore fishing. No swimming. No boating.
I haven't ridden the trail but I live here & have seen new paved paths in Glenwood to connect & make a longer trail. There are a picnic areas in Glenwood, also. Further down the trail I'm not sure...
I should start riding & check out this home trail!

On the south end, the Thorn Creek trail now us connected to the Sauk Trail Woods Forest Preserve (Cook Co.), with a street crossing at 26th. Just north of there in Chicago Heights, the Thorn Creek trail connects to the eastern terminus of the Old Plank Road trail, crossing Campbell Ave. near W. Hickory Dt.

The trail now is paved from Sweet Woods to Joe Orr Woods. The pavement is very smooth.

Peaceful and lovely trail...makes my runs more enjoyable!

Just started riding this trail very nice.

Trail has been paved and in excellent shape. A nice short ride about 4.6 miles long, not crowded.

This is a pretty trail, but it has been neglected over the years. It is now so rutted as to make it impossible to ride now. There are long cracks parallel with the direction of the trail that are just waiting to grab you wheel. They really need someone who knows how to construct a trail, come in and repave this. It does take you through some interesting terrain, with abundant wildlife along the way. But this is one trail where you really have to take it slow and you will miss some of the beauty along the way because of it.

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