Featured Photo by Fox River Trails

Bicycle Trails In The Fox River Valley!

Nestled in northern Illinois, the Fox River Valley stretches from Antioch to Ottowa along the winding Fox River. This beautiful valley region sits to the west of urban Chicago Metropolitan and is a stark contrast to the skyscrapers and bustling city life with its excess of outdoor adventures, rural areas, and simplicity. One unique feature of the region is its surplus of public bicycle trails, providing many opportunities for riders to take in the beauty of the nearby State Parks, landmarks, and nature preserve areas. Read on about five great opportunities for trail riding in the Fox River Valley.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by @druffbear

One of the most popular and scenic biking trails in the Fox River Valley, the Fox River Bike Trail provides more than 40 miles of trails and an abundance of unique stops along the way. Winding alongside the Fox River, the trails feature endless opportunities to stop in nearby restaurants or eat in the designated picnic areas to dine with a view. Along with crossing six bridges, riding alongside historic railroad lines, and passing through beautiful nature preserves, these trails are perfect for cyclists of all skill levels and ages and outdoor aficionados of all types. The trails are open from sunrise to sunset every day and can be accessed from various points between Aurora to Algonquin.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Stan Slade

Living up to its name, the Chain O’Lakes State Park is located in the heart of Illinois’ largest concentration of natural lakes, offering beautiful scenic views and a variety of wildlife for all visitors to enjoy. Bordering the Grass, Marie, and Nippersink Lakes, as well as the Fox River, the 6 miles of bike trails are highlighted by views of the water and accessible at any of the picnic areas in the park. The trails are perfect for families and provide a great opportunity to see some of the Fox River Valley’s natural beauty. Bicycle rentals and safety gear are also available at the concession stand within the park, which is a plus for visitors who are unable to bring their own.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

A more historical and quiet ride is the Great Western Trail, connecting the communities of St. Charles and Sycamore. Previously the mainline of the Chicago Great Western Railroad, the Great Western Trail now replaces the abandoned railway providing a beautiful space for walkers and bicyclists to enjoy the area and take in the local flora and fauna. The trail offers a flat easy ride, making it accessible to riders of all ages, and it crosses small streams and wetlands where ducks, coots, and Great Blue Herons can be spotted nesting.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

If you find yourself in the northern part of the Fox River Valley, the Grassy Lake Forest Preserve offers a great opportunity to hit the trails and spend some time in the great outdoors. Featuring gently rolling hills, oak woodlands, marshes, and moraines, the Grassy Lake trails are unbeatable, especially with the six different scenic overlooks with magnificent views of the Fox River Valley and of Grassy Lake. The Grassy Lake trails consist of four miles of cycling trails, public parking, and restroom facilities. The area is great for all cyclists, as the trails are well-kept gravel and mowed grass, and there are many opportunities for some of the best access to the banks of the Fox River.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

A final opportunity for great cycling trails is the Illinois Prairie Path spanning 61 miles in Cook, DuPage and Kane Counties all found within the Fox River Valley. Formerly a right-of-way for the old Chicago Aurora & Elgin electric railroad, the Illinois Prairie Path was one of the first rail-to-trail conversions in the U.S. during the 1960s, and now is one of the most popular paths in the area. A great feature of the path is the many amenities that are helpful to cyclists and other visitors alike, such as restroom facilities, drinking fountains, benches, native Prairie restorations, interpretive signs, and parks, playgrounds and gazebos. The Illinois Prairie Path is the perfect option to do some easy cycling and with the extent of the trails and trail amenities the possibilities for fun in the outdoors are endless.

I am a student, aspiring writer, and avid reader of books. My favorite things in the world are my German Shepards and hiking in Colorado.

Maeve Miller

Writer , River Travel Magazine