No matter where you're headed, if you're the "outdoorsy" type — this trail itineary is perfect!
Whether it's north from Chicago, south from Wisconsin, west from Lake Michigan, or, traversing across Lake County, there is so much
to enjoy — the best of trails — the Des Plaines River and Greenway. Known to many as the "backbone" to the Lake County Forest Preserves for its spanning county-wide miles top to bottom, this natural gem provides not only abundant recreation, but also protects valuable land, wildlife habitat and provides natural flood protection.
The gravel trail spans nearly the entire length of Lake County for 31.4 miles as it winds through 12 forest preserves. It is open for hiking, biking, horseback riding and seasonal activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (between Russell Road and Wadsworth Road only), ample birdwatching and beautiful flora. Dogs must be leashed. Bridges and underpasses make it possible to travel without crossing any mayor roads. There are six canoe launches as well.
ALL SEASONS: HIKING, BIKING, BIRDING TO SNOWMOBILING
The furthest point north, or point "0.0" of the trail, is Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth (trail access off of W. Russell Road). "Hike in" access is offered at several locations throughout the county including at Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, a perfect spot to rest your mind, body and soul with an overnight stay. Parking with trail access includes Kilbourne Road Trail Access (between Route 41 and Grand Avenue) in Gurnee, Independence Grove (IL Route 137) in Libertyville, Old School Forest Preserve and Captain Daniel Wright Woods (St. Mary's Road) in Mettawa, and in Vernon Hills, Half Day Forest Preserve (Milwaukee Avenue/IL Route 21) and the canoe launch at IL Route 60 (east of Milwaukee Avenue). Just a short drive, is one of the best breweries and eateries in Lake County, Half Day Brewing Company (stop in for a pint), and Wildfire Steak, Chops and Seafood or Big Bowl Chinese and Thai, all on Milwaukee Avenue in the Village of Lincolnshire.
SITES OF INTEREST ALONG THE DES PLAINES RIVER TRAIL:
ATTRACTIONS & LODGING:
View an interactive map for your trip. Be sure to check for closures or trail updates before heading out on the Lake County Forest Preserves website. Keep safety in mind including having a charged cellphone, keeping others aware of your travel plans and destinations, staying hydrated and dressing for the weather.
Photos © Jeff Goldberg