Family Weekender: Chicago

Biking Des Plaines River Trail
Go Guide: Des Plaines River Trail

Getting there: Southern Segment — Half Day Forest Preserve is located on Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21), just north of Route 22 (Half Day Road) in Lincolnshire. Northern Segment — Take I-94 north to Rose Crans Road (Route 173). Take the east exit and look for the parking area at Van Patten Woods Forest Preserve. Head south on the trail.

Reference: Trail maps and guides are available at the Libertyville office, can be requested by mail free of charge, or printed off of their website (

Contact: Lake County Forest Preserve District, (847) 367-6640.


This gravelly 33-mile bike route parallels the Des Plaines River, connecting ten different forest preserves. Although it is still under construction, families can bike the length of two scenic segments to visit several preserves in one day.

The northern segment — stretching ten miles from the Wisconsin state line to Gurnee, IL — meanders through a wide valley of open savanna and prairie landscapes.

The southern segment spans fourteen miles from the Half Day Forest Preserve in Lincolnshire to the Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville. Here, the valley narrows as the river runs a straight course through lovely woodlands.

As you pedal past herons, turtles and beavers, stop for a picnic lunch or dine at one of the many restaurants nearby. The kids will love the playgrounds, one of which is located in each of the forest preserves.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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