There's no better way to enjoy a beautiful summer day than spending your free time outdoors. This summer, dust off your wheels for a fun weekend excursion as you take in the spectacular views on a few of our favorite trails.
Head to the lake to see Northerly Island Park, a 91-acre peninsula south of the Adler Planetarium, which was envisioned by well-known Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham. Bike along the wild prairie grasses and smooth trail paths adjacent to the stellar city skyline, then end your ride at Del Campo Tacos, a South Loop hidden gem located on the coast of 12th Street Beach.
Explore Chicago’s newest elevated park by taking a ride on The Bloomingdale Line, commonly known as the 606. The once century-old railroad track has been transformed into a nearly three-mile trail that functions as an urban green space for nearby communities. Zip through four West Side neighborhoods, or—better yet—take a break at one of the six local parks while witnessing the living work of art in action.
Travel further south to spend the day at the Palos Forest Preserves. A great spot for thrill seekers, this 15,000-acre trail in southwest Cook County offers endless biking opportunities. Ride through the Pulaski Woods and pass by Maple Lake, which provides mountain bikers with access to nearly 40 miles of unpaved trails. These trails provide the challenge of log jumps, steep climbs, and downhill terrains to give any skilled biker the ultimate workout.
The North Shore Channel Trail gives riders the opportunity to avoid the hustle and bustle without traveling too far from the city. This urban bike route begins at Francisco Avenue, where you can bike north through zigzags and minimal street traffic for the next 6.7 miles. Need a break on the ride? Stop at the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park to check out more than 60 sculptures scattered across the two-mile strip.
Consider exploring the Chicago Lakefront Trail on wheels to see every inch of the majestic route from one end to other. The 18.5-mile park stretches along Lake Michigan with beaches, recreational spots, and museums. Avoid the congested areas bursting with locals and tourists by riding south of Navy Pier and enjoying the lakefront views from Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center that will make the trek worth it.
Catch the Green Bay Trail on Wilmette Avenue for a 9-mile path that runs parallel with the Metra commuter rail line up north. Passing through quaint towns, like Lake Bluff and Winnetka, will be a good enough excuse to shop and eat, or catch some beachfront views nearby on Lake Michigan. When you reach the Highland Park trailhead, spend time at the Chicago Botanic Gardens because admission is free when you travel on feet (or two wheels!)