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The trail system in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve makes a loop around the entire park. The preserve is geologically significant, featuring glacier-carved rock ridges, ravines and wetland potholes, which are not found anywhere else in the county. The 700-acre forest is a contiguous wooded acreage interspersed with dolomite beneath a prairie habitat, home to rare plants.
As you explore the limestone-surfaced trail, you'll discover the woodlands with dominant oak and maple trees, as well as prairie and grassland habitats and planted pine groves. You're likely to see lots of wildlife here, too.
The multi-use trail system accommodates cyclists, equestrians and hikers, and some trails are groomed in winter for skiing. Cyclists must stick to the designated bike trails. Horseback riding is not allowed in developed recreational areas, such as the youth group campground.
Horseback riders can park their trailers in designated spots at the trailhead on Northgate Road; trailer parking is not allowed at the Lemont Road lot.
There are three main parking areas for Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. On the north side, take I-55 to the Cass Avenue Exit and head south. Turn right on Northgate Road then right again into the parking area (there are 2 parking areas; the second right is a larger lot).
To access the southeast end of the trail continue south on Cass Avenue from I-55 and bear left at the elbow bend onto Bluff Road; the parking area is a short distance up the road on the right.
To access parking on the southwest side, follow Lemont Road to where it crosses 101st Street; the parking turnoff is on the east of Lemont where 101st comes in.
For the most part, I agree with the five star reviews. It is a beautiful trail that takes you through forest, past a beautiful overlook, over bridges and has several bathroom/outhouses every 3-4 miles (located in the parking lots). I did not see horse poop as one review indicated and I was able to handle the 4-5 larger hills (I'm in my 60's so most bikers should handle them fine). The trail wasn't too busy (midweek) and you get the feeling that you are far from civilization because of the vast number of trees and open spaces. I took the advice from one reviewer and went counterclockwise around the circle. I really think that it had better runs in that direction. The only negative for me is that the trail takes you across a couple of busy roads and traffic didn't stop for bikers. My distance clocked in a 10 miles. Finally, this trail is excellent for really hot days because of all the shade. Enjoy!
nice trail - beautiful overlook at Rocky Glenn falls...
I decided to mix up my runs and run multiple Traillinks locations for my tempo and long runs - this was my second (the first was Des Plaines River Trail). I ran 8 miles (4 out and 4 back).I love that the distance is marked every half mile, there are rolling hills, and it's scenic and quiet. I also enjoyed there being other folks on the trail. I got the best of both worlds - solitude then a brief moment of sharing the experience with others (in passing). However, I wish when I arrived at certain junctions there would have been clear (or more prominent) markers as to which direction I should turn. But it is a very easy trail to navigate. I will run this trail again. Anxious to see what the entire 9.5 loop will look like.
These seem like a nice system of trails, although we only walked the eastern portion of the main one. It will get you in shape as there are many inclines. The main trail is not paved, but is in good shape. It seems to have ample parking, but for those without smart phones, paper maps should be provided at the map shelters, as the trail system can seem confusing at first.
This is a great year-round trail for everyone - cyclists, walkers, and joggers. It is an excellent nature trail that definitely provides a challenge if you are used to flat trails. But if you are in shape, it gives you an invigorating workout. The trail is well maintained and receives constant improvements. It is also a great hub to connect with other local trails, which does require some knowledge of the area, but it's worth it. One of its nicest points is that it's a closed loop. No riding back the way you came. Take the negative comments of earlier reviews with a grain of salt. If you are not in shape, get in shape so you can ride this gem. And if you happen to meet an occasional grouch on the trail (we all do), just remember that you are leaving them behind as you keep pedaling.
This has to be one of the nicest trails in all of Illinois (most certainly, Chicagoland). My girlfriend and I have biked it a dozen times or more. It never gets old. A nature lovers paradise. We recommend riding it counterclockwise, as there are some great runs in this direction. I've been all over the state, from Rockford to Vienna; Nauvoo to Charleston. I'll put this trail up against any. A fitness trail with great runs and stunning beauty. It's truly a gem.
This trail is medium to difficulty depending on your fitness level. Definitely the place to burn fat, increase your heart rate due to the uphills. This trail is very serene, pretty, and has plenty of coverage to protect You from sun. you from
I didn't see any reference to being able to RUN on this trail, but, I went for it and was not disappointed. I ran the 9.5 mile loop yesterday, 5/14/16. It is an excellent option for untechnical asphalt free running. It also looks great for walking and biking. Not sure I would rush to take your road bike on this trail, though, it wouldn't be that tough on the bike. The crushed gravel and dirt surface is better suited to wider tire bikes like a hybrid, cyclocross, or even a mountain bike. There appeared to be some offshoot trails for more mixed terrain, though after a week of heavy rains, many seemed very wet from my view as I ran by them. Given this week's weather, it was amazing how well this main loop trail held up. I saw review complaints about its condition. I have to disagree. Just a few small percent of this trail was either wet, partially blocked, or eroded. I saw some complaints about elevation change, and here again, given flat boring Midwest plains, the few hills here were welcome relief for me. My Garmin said that my total ascent for the loop was about 400 feet. There are several parking areas to access this trail, so check to see which is closest for you when you come. I'll be back to walk, run, and bike this friendly trail.
It seems like you're always going up or down! Not very friendly to the unfit. However if you have the skill this place can be very entertaining. Horse poop is unfortunatly found on the trail, but the trail is 8-10 feet wide and dodging the mounds is easy. If singletrack is more your thing, Palos forest preserve is a short 10 min drive away! If I'm feeling extra crazy. I'll do both the same day.
Don't understand why anyone would think this is not a bike trail. My wife and I mountain bike here frequently. Nice views, clean, and well kept.
Trail is well kept and well marked.
The scenery was beautiful but the trail has a lot of tough hills.
My son and I ride road bikes. We took Centennial trail and followed Veterans Parkway trail north. We ended up exploring and decided to make the short jaunt over to Waterfall Glen. The entire trail is crushed limestone. Needless to say, for anyone that rides a road bike, crushed limestone is not rider friendly.
The trail is not very well marked. It was like riding through a maze trying to find out where we were and where we were going once we entered.
The trail is host to many people walking. We encountered one such "upper crust" that would not move over for us (after we had announced ourselves as passing on your left). We were firmly told by this disgruntled walker, "This is a walking trail". He would not move to the right, not even an inch. We passed on his left with barely enough room for our bike tires. Very rude people there. We stumbled upon some trail employees that gave us directions to where we needed to return to to be able to exit the trail.
Also, be aware that they allow people to ride horses on this trail. After rounding a corner we came upon two large horses being ridden.
We will never go back to this trail. The guy that told us "This is a walking trail" was right.
If your an avid road biker, do not waste your time with Waterfall Glen.
As this was my fist time biking. i felt good. will go frequently.
Overall, I thought the trail was excellent. 10 miles of trail hiking with clear maps telling you where to go at forks. More rest areas along the way would be nice but not really a deal-breaker.
CAUTION: This is a forest preserve. That is, you travel through woods. So, prepare accordingly. Water, trail mix, etc. And LOTS of bug spray.
I'm going to try this trail again in the fall when it's less buggy.
Fun trail for biking that will challenge a beginner. It is too demanding for small children. The major caution here is that the limestone trail is significantly eroded in many places so extra caution is required. Hitting one of those spots at speed could cause a crash or damage your bike. If you have small kids hit the paved loop at Busse Woods instead.
I thought this was supposed to be a relatively easy trail based on some reviews from other sources. It was a beautiful scenic ride, but there are just a bit too many hills for my liking. Probably not a big deal for experienced riders, but this trail is not for the beginner. I am rating the trail as a trail and not based on my personal experience, as I was not quite ready for this trail just yet.
This trail isn't too adventurous distance-wise, but it definitely has its share of ups and downs to give you a workout. On top of that, the scenery is just beautiful, a great place to escape the suburbs for a bit. The trail is generally well-maintained, but it is an equestrian trail, so be ready for some droppings on the trail. Also, be careful of spots where the limestone has gotten too loose if you don't have the tires to handle it. Don't expect to be the only one on the trail, but the trail is long enough that you aren't seeing someone around every turn. There are multiple access points along the loop, so it's easily incorporated into longer rides. And if you're coming from further away, there are multiple parking lots (4 I think) fully equipped with outhouses, a water pump (questionably potable...), and a map of the trail. There is also an extensive set of orienteering points and smaller trails if hiking is more your thing. Either way, definitely add this trail to your list.
My wife and I recently moved to Palos Park and took up biking again. We have explored several trails in Palos, and Willow Springs, and we enjoy a good 8-10 mile morning ride. Waterfall Glen is the best we've ridden so far. Mixed group of friendly walkers, runners, and bikers and though the trail is more gradual, it is a good workout with many places to stop and rest. Well maintained, and marked trails make it very enjoyable. Just past mile marker 9 going west there is a hairpin turn that needs caution. My wife went off the trail, and though she broke her glasses and sustained some road rash, we will ride this trail again. We would not have known about Waterfall Glen if I had not explored TrailLink!! I would recommend this trial to every level of rider.
This evening my husband & I rode this trail for the first time. We are both over 65 yrs old. We probably will not ride this trail again. Although there were other cyclists on it, the trail is more suited for walkers and runners. There is almost no flat ground. Each of us rode about two miles before we realized we needed to use only low gears. The gradient is steep. Seems like there is a 90 degree turn at the bottom of each hill. We did finish the entire loop. There are benches, but a few more would be an improvement. It is a shady trail, that is why we tried it. The trail had a lot of horse and dog poop on it. Someone had vomited at the lookout. Vomit is unfortunate, but there is no excuse for horse and dog poop. We have witnessed the mounted police on the Paint Creek trail in Michigan dismount, get a stick, and shove the poop from their own horses off the path. Riders should be required to carry a small shovel with them. As for dog owners....
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