Do you have all the fall feels? Well, time to list your fall goals: bike, hike & see the Lake County colors.
Lake County is home to hundreds of miles of trails for you to explore! Whether you’re looking for a quick hike or if you’re looking for a more challenging distance on a two-wheeler, there are trails for all fitness levels just waiting for you.
When the leaves change yellow and orange, it is the viewing party of a lifetime traveling on the best fall hike and bike trails in Lake County. We all can’t get out to New England to see their legendary foliage (and frankly we don’t need to), but Lake County’s trees pack a kaleidoscopic punch of their own.
It’s a tad warm now, but our color spectrum will be showing soon. After a rigorous day of basking in Lake County goodness, continue the fall party by indulging in the Spooks & Spirits Autumn Celebration.
Ready. Set. Go and achieve your fall goals: bike, hike and see the Lake County colors!
This trail is all about convenience… mostly because no matter where you are in Lake County, you’re probably not far from the Des Plaines River Trail – considering it runs the entire north/south length of the county. From Cook County in the south to the Wisconsin border in the north, this trail stretches 31 miles and runs through 12 Lake County forest preserves so you can choose the section you’d like to hike. Beautiful throughout the year, this trail connects our favorite destinations on the north end like Van Patten Woods, Wadsworth Savanna, Sedge Meadow, Lake Carina and Independence Grove. The south end continues on, connecting Wilmot Woods, Old School Forest Preserve, MacArthur Woods, Grainger Woods, Captain Daniel Wright Woods, Ryerson Conservation Area and the Cahokia Flatwoods.
Season’s change, plans change, life changes even though I might not like the changes I have the choice of how I respond to the changes. Sure I want life to go my way however like the wind some days I’m riding into and on the best days it’s at my back. And experience has taught me I’d rather ride into the headwinds on my way out and have the tailwinds to push me home. #lookup
Enjoy the scenic views of Lake Michigan’s stunning shoreline and experience some of Lake County’s most pristine outdoor spaces. Within this 4,160 acre park, you can hike the north end of the park on a graveled 2.2-mile loop trail that brings you through the prairie, the forest and of course the sandy beaches. Start in the Zion visitor center’s parking lot on the park’s south side, and then follow the route south. Enjoy lookout platforms along the way. Stop along the beach at the end of mile marker 1 to enjoy Lake Michigan’s beautiful sights before continuing on the trail.
Choose from four trail systems! For a brief and relaxing stroll, try the Nature’s Way hiking trail by Oak Grove Picnic Area which stretches 2.25 miles, while the Pike Mash in the North Picnic Area has a mini trail running a mere .25 miles long. There is also an equestrian trail with three loops running eight miles. The opportunities are endless as you can choose the popular biking/hiking trail for a six-mile hike. FYI, bird watching is everything at the Spring Grove state park. Continue here to learn more about our flying friends.
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A portion of this Lake County trail originally was a section of the North Shore Bike Path. The Robert McClory Trail starts in Kenosha and runs south through Highland Park. This path takes you east, parallel to Lake Michigan (but not along the lake). Enjoy grand views of amber and auburn colored trees and escape through rural, quaint Lake County towns on this 25-mile path. Make an even more memorable day out of this trail by stopping by the Chicago Botanic Gardens, where you can explore the Glencoe sanctuary by bike from the southernmost portion of the trail.
This eight-mile trail runs from Lake Bluff to Mundelein and links up to the Robert McClory Bike Path at the intersection of Scranton Ave., and Sheridan Rd. Running parallel to 176, this path goes through open plains, cross the Des Plaines River (Pick up the Des Plaines River Trail here if you want) and even passes by Lambs Farm. It also goes around University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein which has some of the most beautiful fall colors in Lake County.
This relatively urban system of bike paths connects local businesses and makes it easy and safe for bicyclists to get around the Buffalo Grove area. Explore community parks, golf courses, the Ryerson Forest Preserve and even connect to Lincolnshire. Have an adventure this fall by opting for a bike ride instead of the car with this conveniently designed alternative.
The trail beginning in Mundelein stretches nearly 30 miles. Besides biking and hiking in the fall, the trail is also perfect for horseback riding and cross-country skiing in the winter. The Lake County Forest Preserve trail and greenway has two disconnected spots in the route. The trail ends in Forest View Park.
Other Trails to Bike & Hike in Lake County
- Buffalo Creek Trail
- Grant Woods Preserve Trail
- Greenbelt Forest Preserve Trail
- Libertyville Bike Path
- McDonald Woods Trail
- Skokie Valley Trail
- Vernon HIlls Bikeways
- Washington Street Trail
- Zion Trail
- North Branch Trail (Chicago Botanic Garden)
For more information, for you to achieve your fall goals: bike, hike & see the Lake County colors, click here.