9 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Illinois

Illinois Chicago is the titan of Central America and comprises of the natural and most unique landscapes and cosmopolitan amusements...

Illinois Chicago is the titan of Central America and comprises of the natural and most unique landscapes and cosmopolitan amusements in the entire country. Although Illinois' city life can be exciting and intoxicating, be sure to take some time for adventure and see the outside as well. Over the last few decades, mountain biking has remained a prevalent outdoor recreational activity as it is an exciting and fun way to enjoy the vast health benefits of cardiovascular exercise and regular fitness.There is a vast number of best mounting biking trails in Illinois that will excite you and leave you fascinated. With the public health concerns, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes being on the rise; many campers, hikers, and nature lovers have opted for mountain biking due to its vast health benefits. What an ideal way to experience the great outdoors in Illinois than to get intimate with the thorny scrubs and eat some dust on the trail? Mountain biking in Illinois allows you to enjoy the majesty and solitude of nature. Rather than biking in the urban environment where you won't get the stimulating effect of anxiety and fear in the brain, here are some of the mountain biking trails that you should consider exploring in Illinois.

1. Sag Valley Yellow Trail Loop

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Sag Valley Yellow Trail Loop

©Forest Preserves of Cook County[/caption]Located in Swallow Cliff Woods near Palos Park, Sag Valley trails in Illinois is an impressive main trail loop preferred by most mountain bikers and hikers in the area. The Yellow loop trail is made of crushed limestone and gravel, double track, well-marked, and well maintained. There are several natural linking trails; thus, you may lengthen or shorten your bike ride swiftly along the way. This mountain biking trail is more suitable for moderate bikers.  The sceneries at this biking trail are amusing. The cliffs overlooking the ancient toboggan slides give it an impressive view. Horses also use this trail; thus, strict adherence to safety and health guidelines is advised. Mountain bikers wishing to use this mountain bike trail should wear helmets and biking shoes in case of unprecedented accidents. Biking during bad weather conditions is also discouraged as it could get icy may compromise on the proper footing. Dogs are also allowed to use this loop trail. However, they must be kept on leash. The trail is also highly recommended due to its high security, and the bikers always feel safe exploring this beautiful trail.This trail is a heavily trafficked mountain biking trail and stretches up to 12.2 Kilometer. It is mostly jam-packed on evenings and weekends, although it is rarely busy during winter.  If you wish to explore the Sag Valley Yellow trail loop in Illinois, you could contact the Forest Preserves of Cook County or the Chicago Area Mounting Bikers local club.

2. Salt Creek Greenway Mountain Biking Trail

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Salt Creek Greenway Mountain Biking Trail

©Openlands[/caption]The Salt Creek Greenway Trail in Illinois is approximately 25-mile long, and it is a regional trail used by both pedestrians and bikers. It extends all the way to Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield from Busse Forest in the village of Elk Grove. It acts as a critical link in constructing and developing a 210-mile integrated mountain biking trail in northeast Illinois that includes the Great Western Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path.This mountain biking trail in Illinois connects over 300,000 residents and 12 communities. The Salt Creek Greenway trail includes both a water trail and a paved land trail. The trails connect through the DuPage and Cook County Forest Preserves. Bikers and hikers exploring this trail pass through savanna and open prairies, under shaded canopies, and through the Illinois nature preserves, which is protected.The Salt Creek Greenway trail in Illinois provides outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities and spectacular views. Apart from bike riders, it is ideal for joggers, walkers, and runners. It is an excellent outdoor environment that could help you keep fit and with a clear state of mind as you exercise.

3. Saw Kee Wee Trail

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Saw Kee Wee Trail

©Oswegoland Park District[/caption]Saw Wee Kee mountain biking trail is a 16.3 kilometer situated near Yorkville, Illinois. This heavily trafficked trail features a river and beautiful sceneries. It is rated as moderate. The trail provides a wide range of outdoor activity options, and it is busier from April to October. Saw Kee Wee trail in Illinois could be considered the wild child of the Chicago-area trail systems. It is the center of attention as most people in Illinois will mostly talk about this mountain biking trail. If you are seeking untamed terrain, this is the place to explore! As compared to its counterparts with vast miles, this trail stretches up to seven miles. However, the trail may be difficult to cover if you are a novice in mountain biking; thus, you may need some level of expertise and prowess.This park guarantees bike riders a truly unique riding experience due to the course terrain, dirty mounds, and the lumpy reforested terrain. Most local mountain riders and hikers consider the Saw Kee Wee trail as an amusement park. They have titled most of the trails after roller coasters such a Colossus, Wildcat, Vertical Velocity, Anaconda, and many more. These trails provide short but steep climbs, quick turns, low rollers, and winding descents. Although the overall elevation change in this trail is minor, it is an ideal outdoor workout environment due to the frequent climbs over the dunes will give your legs good exercise. The trail also offers an avenue for less experienced mountain bike riders such as the Lolliganger and the Cotton Candy trails. Those who don't mind dismounting more frequently could consider exploring the roller coaster trails.

4. Veteran Acres Illinois (Sterne’s Woods and Fen)

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Veteran Acres Illinois (Sterne’s Woods and Fen)

©Third Coast Hikes[/caption]The Sterne's Woods and Fen Hike in Veteran Acres is a 4.7-kilometer loop trail situated near Crystal Lake in Illinois. This is one of the best mountain biking trails in Illinois, Chicago, and is rated as moderate. It is a serene retreat to nature. It was included in the list of Illinois Nature Preserves in 1994, which guarantees a high protection level to the natural areas. Nature enthusiasts are welcomed to wander through the woodlands on this trail, which comprises rugged walking tracks, cross country skiing, marked biking paths, and wagon rides in the fall. The district Prairie trail of McHenry Country's Conservation South passes through Veterans Acres Park and Sterne's Wood. A nearby picnic shelter, restroom, and parking area make this tranquil woodland convenient and easily accessible.Like any other mountain biking trails in Illinois, those wishing to explore this exciting trail must adhere to the necessary health and safety precautions to prevent personal injuries and not harm other bikers. Dogs are allowed to this facility but should be kept on a leash at all times.

5. Palos Yellow Trail Loop

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Palos Yellow Trail Loop

©Alltrails[/caption]Palos Yellow, a multi-surface loop trail, is a 15.9 kilometer moderately trafficked mountain biking trail situated near Willow Springs in Illinois. It features a lake and a tranquil wildlife environment. This trail is rated as moderate and is accessible at any time of the year. Unlike the Waterfall Glen, Palos Yellow is a perfect alternative for those who do not fancy traveling long to access a trail for mountain biking.Apart from the captivating views in this mountain biking trail in Illinois, you will come across animals such as coyotes, deer, and many birds and other wildlife. The serene environment will encourage you to exercise for long periods as you end up covering a wide region unknowingly. The better part is that there is total security for the bike riders. Additionally, you won't have to keep an eye in case of any unleashed dogs occasionally. The Palos Yellow Trail loop is easily-accessible; thus, you won't have to worry about how you will join your other mountain bikers exercising on this trail. There is also plenty of water available if you want to refresh after long hours of working out with your mountain bike.For mobility equipment, stroller and wheelchair users are advised to contact someone who could give them much-needed assistance as they explore the exciting trail. Safety comes first; thus, no one who wishes to explore this trail should compromise on that. Safety rules and guidelines should be adhered to at all times.

6. Country Lane Woods

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Country Lane Woods

©Forest Preserves of Cook County[/caption]Country Lane Woods is one of the best mountain biking trails in Illinois, and it is situated in Willow Springs. This loop trail is moderately trafficked and stretches up to 7.9 Kilometer. It is perfect for every skill level. Thus, it is ideal for both novice and mountain bike experts. This spectacular trail can be accessed any time of the year.For those with horses and dogs can also use this trail. However, they should strictly adhere to the laid down rules and guidelines; for instance, the dogs should be strictly leashed. County Lane Woods has pleasant paths made of gravel, which improves on footing and grip; thus, you may not easily slide or skid off while maneuvering through the tranquil trail. There is also a street crossing, which makes it suitable for joggers and runners.When it comes to accessibility, there should be no call for alarm; the four feet wide trail surface makes it easily navigable. The grade is generally gentle, and it is estimated to be below 5% apart from 2.1 miles, where it is 10%. For stroller and wheelchair, users may need help in the trail section that may be steep or where the surface is bumpy and uneven.

7. Fullersburg and Graue Mill Loop Trail

Fullersburg and Graue Mill Loop Trail

This is one of the preeminent mountain biking trails in Illinois, and it is heavily trafficked for a significant period throughout the year; it is situated near Oak Brook. This magnificent trail features a river and other beautiful wildlife sceneries. It is perfect for all skill levels thus favorable for a wide range of mountain biker users from beginners to professionals.  This trail stretches up to 5.3 kilometers and is ideal for those using mountain bikers as a form of recreation as well as working out. It may be icy and slippery; thus, those bike riders opting to explore this trail should adhere to the relevant precautions to avoid unprecedented accidents in the trails.For instance, the mountain bike riders opting to explore the Fullersburg and Graue Mill Loop Trail during winter seasons should beware of black ice as it is less visible than white glaze. The riders should also move loosey-goosey and avoid death gripping the bars. Adjustment of the tires is also recommended; wider tires tend to provide more outstanding grip, reducing your sliding and falling chances and dressing up with appropriate attire to enhance your visibility. This mountain bike trail in Illinois is safe at all times as the Oak Brook authorities offer enough security. Thus it would be best if you were afraid to explore this trail with your mountain bike.

8. Waterfall Glen Trail

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Waterfall Glen Trail

©Rootsrated[/caption]Located in Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Willowbrook, Illinois, the Waterfall Glen Trail is a busy and heavily trafficked loop trail and one of Illinois's best. It stretches for up 15.0 kilometers. It features a magnificent waterfall, which makes it more popular for mountain bikers and hikers as well. It is suitable for all skill levels thus can accommodate novice mountain bike riders as well as professionals.The Waterfall Glen Trail offers a number of outdoor activity options and is more frequently used between April and October. Mountain bike riders enjoy attractive views and a conducive environment as they ride on this trail's slopes. Those exploring this trail with dogs are advised to keep them on a leash; failure to abide by this may lead to denial of access.The Waterfall Glen Trail's topographic features are ideal for outdoor workouts due to the challenging ups and downs as you maneuver through the trails with your mountain bike.

9. Herrick Lake Trail

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Herrick Lake Trail

©meridithb Flickr[/caption]Situated in Warrenville Grove forest reserve in Warrenville, Illinois, Herrick Lake Trail stretches up to 12.9 kilometers. This famous trail features a lake and is ideal for all-mountain biking skill levels. It's recommended for beginners and experts, and it is accessible to the public throughout the year.Herrick Lake trail connects two fascinating and amusing places: the Danada Equestrian Center and the famous Herrick Lake. This trail is generally flat but very scenic with small forests, a pleasant lake, a breathtaking equestrian center, and prairies. It is important to note that this is the only natural lake in this county.When it comes to accessibility, the six feet wide trail surface consists of limestone. The grade is moderate, with an approximated average grade of 1% and a maximum grade of 3%. Mobility equipment, stroller, and wheelchair users may need help if wheels get stuck in limestone's loose areas.

Bottom Line

Mountain biking has become a popular sporting activity in Illinois due to its recreational and health benefits. If you are new in Illinois and wondering about some of the best mountain biking trails, the trails mentioned above will be worth your time and energy. It would be best if you considered exploring one of these exciting trails for your personal entertainment and wellbeing.