11 Amazing Bike Trails in Illinois [Update 2024]

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bike trails in Illinois

Illinois is one of the most naturally gifted states in the United States, full of lush green lands, awe-inspiring mountains and tranquil lakes and rivers.

Illinois is full of stunning bike trails that are perfect for a relaxing or a challenging bike run during the morning or the evening. These bike trails don’t just offer the thrill of biking, alongside safety measures, they are also maintained really well.

The most wonderful bike trails in Illinois are listed below.

1. Great River Trail

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Great River Trail is one of the most wonderful bike trails in Illinois

Great River Trail is the most popular bike trail among bikers in Illinois, located in a park in Bentonville. Great River Trail is full of many challenging trails that are very attractive to professional bikers.

Moreover, if you want a relaxing bike ride, Slaughter Pen Trail is also a great option as you can ride through the beautiful scenery in the park. It is one of the biggest networks of bike trails in Illinois that offers an adventurous and scenic experience for bikers.

2. Illinois Prairie Path

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One of the most highly-rated bike trails in Illinois, Illinois Prairie Path is located in beautiful Cook County. Using these bike trails, both professional and amateur bikers can enjoy a relaxing and challenging bike ride. On top of that, most of the bike trails on Illinois Prairie Path provide awe-inspiring views that are unrivalled.

3. Bloomingdale Trail

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Bloomingdale Trail

Although you may be used to a ground-level ride or hike, Chicago’s nearly 3-mile Bloomingdale Trail, also known as The 606, is a more elevated experience—literally.

Located near Wicker Park and running parallel with West North Avenue, the elevated trail provides views of urban buildings punctuated with native plantings. Serving as a handy transportation corridor meets nature trail, this trail in Cook County is off high utility as well.

Check out these wonderful fishing spots in Illinois.

4. Tunnel Hill State Trail

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Tunnel Hill State Trail

Tunnel Hill State Trail features some of the most scenic bike trails in Illinois. This state area is already full of stunning bike trails that offer incredible views and wildlife sightings. The bike trails in the park offer a relaxing getaway for visitors and a fresh start to the morning for locals. It is a massive trail that stretches 55 miles long.

5. Old Plank Road Trail

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Located east of Joliet, the Old Plank Road Trail has it all. Its 21 miles will provide a hefty dose of nature, punctuated with flourishing prairie plants and wildlife-filled wetlands. It also goes through towns, like Frankfort and New Lenox, that offer shopping and restaurants.

During your travels, soak up even more of the outdoors with a stop at the Old Plank Road Prairie Nature Preserve or Hunters Woods County Forest Preserve. Mid-trail, Frankfort, with its plethora of restaurants, offers a great spot to refuel. 

6. Jane Addams Trail

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Jane Addams Trail is one of the cleanest bike trails in Illinois and is highly popular among the local residents of Stephenson County. If you are looking for a morning bike run or just a relaxing bike ride in the evening, then this is the perfect bike trail for you. Additionally, while enjoying a bike ride on such a clean trail, you can also enjoy the beautiful views of the river around the trail.

Take a look at these stunning hiking trails in Illinois.

7. Rock Island Trail

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With a trailhead in Peoria, and winding 38 miles through small Illinois communities like Wyoming, Princeville and Alta, the Rock Island Trail is a tribute to the state’s rural beauty. Along the way, catch glimpses of Peoria Lake and sights from simpler times, such as the wildflower-dotted tall-grass prairie found on the Peoria/Stark county line and the trestle bridge that crosses the Spoon River.

8. MCT Nickel Plate Trail

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The Madison County Transit (MCT) Nickel Plate Trail is the longest of the county’s trails and perhaps the most diverse in its offerings. On the west, it begins at a junction with the MCT Nature Trail, offering a rather typical mix of rural rail-trail scenery: tree-shaded trail, open farmland, highways and scattered businesses.

9. Wauponsee Glacial Trail

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Wauponsee Glacial Trail is an area which consists of beautiful and challenging bike trails that are suitable for all kinds of bikers. Whether you want to bike through the relaxing winds, or between the trails that lead to the forests, this is the optimal mountain bike trail. Situated in the hiking area of Joliet, it is one of the best natural trails in Illinois, especially for biking.

10. Cal-Sag Trail

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South of Chicago and running along the Calumet Sag Channel, the appropriately named Cal-Sag Trail includes an extensive nature corridor in the Palos Forest Preserve system. The trail’s 15 miles will bring you to other natural areas, like Sagawau Canyon, lying not far off the trail in Lemont Township and packed with rocky streams, verdant ferns and ravine forests.

Other nearby destinations that pay homage to the outdoors are the Lake Katherine Nature Center and the Botanic Gardens.

11. Palatine Bike Trail

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The Palatine Bike Trail is one of the most modest bike trails on this list. However, in terms of tranquility and natural beauty, this is far behind from any bike trails in Illinois. It is one of the cleanest bike trails in the state of Illinois, situated in the city of Palatine.

The bike trails in Illinois offer tranquil surroundings and beautiful views that are unmatched. Some of these bike trails are also situated in hiking areas and state parks, allowing you to enjoy all sorts of natural activities. Whether you own a car or a truck, cruising down these bike trails during a gloomy, windy morning is a totally different, and unmatched feeling.

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