www.outdoors.chicago.il.us >> The Unofficial Cook County Forest Preserve District Page >>
The maps on this page show various types of trails, and in some cases, areas not shown on one of the color Picnic Maps. Most of these maps have a brief description of the area plus a few rules and guidelines for the activity in question.
Arie Crown | I & M Canal | North Branch | Salt Creek | Thorn Creek | Tinley Creek
For those driving to the area, parking is available in the Forest Preserve District parking lot below Willow Springs Road. This parking area as well as the bicycle trail are shown on the accompanying map.
The trail winds along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the Skokie Lagoons, providing access to various picnic groves, golf courses and also the Chicago Botanic Garden. This trail will eventually connect the Green Bay Bicycle Trail as shown on the map.
The North Branch Trail offers bicycle riders many opportunities for fun, exercise and relaxation. You may want to pack a lunch and ride to the Chicago Botanic Garden or to one of the picnic groves along the trail. If you're trying to get back into shape, determine a specific course from this map, and ride it regularly. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way, where you can get a drink of cold water from one of the convenient wells. Whether it's the whole day or just an hour, plan a time right now to get out and enjoy the beauty nature offers right in your own back yard.
The trail winds through the wooded Forest Preserves as it follows Salt Creek, providing access to various picnic groves and other points of interest. This trail offers bicycle riders a scenic and relaxing route to the Brookfield Zoo.
The Salt Creek Trail follows the banks of Salt Creek, offering bicycle riders a variety of ways to enjoy the Forest Preserve. Pack your bicycle and a picnic lunch in your car and drive to Bemis Woods South. Then park your car and pedal your way east to Brezina Woods for a quiet picnic. You may want to get an earlier start and ride to the Brookfield Zoo for a full afternoon of enjoyment. If you're looking for some exercise, determine a specific course using this map and ride it regularly. Whether it's for exercise or relaxation, plan a time now to get out and enjoy beautiful Cook County.
For those driving to the area, ample parking is available near the trail in both Lansing Woods and Sauk Trail Woods. These parking areas as well as bicycle trail are shown on the accompanying map.
The Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail offers bicylists a relaxing ride thorugh gently rolling country. A leisurely ride through the area will take you through forests, prairies and alongside wetlands. With picnic groves, wells, and toilet facilities available along the trail route, you can plan an outing, be it only an hour long or all day.
At present, the paved trail exists in two sections. However, in the future these portions will be joined together, as well as having the entire trail linked to others trails in the area.
1) Ride single file -- keeping to the right side of the trail.
2) Stay in your own lane.
3) Give warning before passing other trail users.
4) Obey all stop signs.
5) WALK all bicycles down overpasses where designated.
6) The trail is designed for a moderate recreational speed of 8 m.p.h.
NO SPEED TRAINING OR
(Speed radar monitored)
Violators will be
FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT
OF COOK COUNTY
536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL.
Arie Crown | Bemis Woods | Beverly Lake | Camp Sagawau | Deer Grove | Swallow Cliff
For the non-skiers Bemis Woods also offers sledding, coasting and tobogganing.
Bemis Woods is located on the North side of Ogden Avenue -- West of Wolf Road.
The Beverly Lake area is located on Higgins Road about one mile west of Sutton Road (Illinois Route 59).
The trails traverse a scenic area of forest and prairie. The Sag Trail is gentle and well suited to the beginner while the Ridge Run is more rolling, appropriate to intermediate or advanced level skiers. Ski information and a warmup area is available.
The trails are groomed and tracked as snow conditions warrant. Skiers must obtain a free trail pass in the Farmhouse before skiing.
Camp Sagawau is on Route 83 east of Archer Avenue or four miles west of the Swallow Cliff Winter Sports Area.
For the non-skiers Deer Grove also offers sledding, ice skating, coasting, tubing and toboggan slides. Deer Grove is located on the west side of Quentin Road just north of Dundee Road.
Swallow Cliff provides a warming shelter and heated rest rooms. This area is located near the intersection of Illinois Route 83 and U.S. Highway 45, just west of Palos Park.
Cross Country skiing is fast becoming the most popular winter pastime in the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Persons may cross country ski in all areas of the District, (except certain Special Use Areas), from sunrise to sunset.
RULES OF THE TRAIL
Following these rules for cross country conduct will make your skiing safer and more fun.
RESPECT OTHERS: Ski so that you don't endanger or offend others.
SKI RIGHT: Ski the right- hand track. Groups should ski single file on the right side of the trail.
MEETING: Keep to the right when meeting. On hills, downhill skiers have the right of way.
POLES IN: Keep your poles close to your body when near other skiiers.
KEEP TRAILS CLEAR: If you stop, get out of the track. If you fall, get up and out of the track quickly.
WATCH YOUR SPEED: Suit your skiing speed to your personal ability, the terrain, visibility - especially on hills. Keep a safe distance from skiiers ahead. As a last resort, fall intentionally to avoid a collision.
DON'T LITTER: Don't carry in what you cannot carry out. Carrying litter is easy - it's light.
After its discovery in 1673 by Father Jacques Marque and Louis Jolliet, the Chicago Portage became an important connecting link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. The portage and adjoining Des Plaines River quickly became one of the major waterways to the West, establishing Chicago as an important transportation center in the United States.
Today you can paddle along this same historic route that was taken by Marquette and Jolliet over three centuries ago.
The Chicago Portage Canoe Trail is part of the I & M National Heritage Corridor. This corridor is a 100 mile long recreational system that runs from the Chicago Portage to LaSalle, Illinois. By putting in at Stony Ford, you can canoe the first 14 miles of this historic corridor, which will take you downstream to Lemont. If you would like to take a shorter trip, you can disembark at Columbia Woods or use Columbia Woods as your starting point and canoe to the Lemont Landing. Whichever route you choose, plan a time now to get out and enjoy the beauty of this historic trail.
Points of Interest
(A) Stony Ford
At one time a strategic and widely used crossing, Stony Ford today marks the beginning of the canoe trail. This area has picnic facilities and drinking water available for canoeists beginning their journey downstream. (See inset map)
(B) Laughton Ford
It was at this ford that the Ottawa Trail crossed the Des Plaines River. In the early 1800's David and Bernardus Laughton established a small trading post along the trail, just east of the ford. Now owned by the Forest Preserve, this area is known today as the Ottawa Trail Woods.
(C) Chicago Portage*
This historic site was the major connecting link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Discovered in 1673 by Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, this portage became an important point from which to control fur trade and travel throughout the area. Today the Chicago Portage, now owned by the Forest Preserve District, is a National Historic Site.
(D) Columbia Woods
This area can be the final destination For a 7.5 mile canoe trio or the half way point for a longer trip. Columbia Woods also has picnic facilities and drinking water available for canoeists. (See inset map.)
(E) Palos Preserve*
These preserves make-up the Forest Preserve District's largest and most diverse holding. Mostly hilly and forested, this scenic area contains over 32 miles of land trails for the enjoyment of hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders.
(F) Lemont Landing
This is the disembarking point for the 14.4 mile canoe trail. After passing under the Lemont Road and Stephen Street bridges, paddle along the north bank of the river and disembark where shown on the inset map.>
*Not accessible by canoe
Safety First1) DO NOT canoe during times of high flood or when ice is present.
Canoe Trail CourtesyDO NOT LITTER - Keep bottles, cans and other litter in your canoe until you reach land where there are trash cans provided for your convenience.
Before Planning a Special Event
Permission is required for all special events held at District facilities involving more than 25 persons. For further information contact:
OF COOK COUNTY
536 N. Harlem Avenue
River Forest, IL 60305
(312) 261-8400 Ext.48
This page is based on publications of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois, adapted for the web as a public service by CLONK. This web site is unofficial, and not associated in any way with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. CLONK is not responsible for any errors, either in the original publication or in this web version. The information presented here follows the original Forest Preserve District publications as closely as possible, with minor variations such as choice of typeface and added web links. CLONK cautions that items such as names of public servants and telephone numbers are subject to change!
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Last updated 7/7/00.