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Tags:
Level: Intermediate
Length: 14 mi (22.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +1,068/998 ft
Total: 154 riders
 

Mountain Biking Kickapoo

*****   Add a review
#1 of 109 mountain bike trails in Illinois
#126 in the world

This trail system is directional, with a generally counterclockwise flow beginning at the trailhead. It is hard packed singletrack with a mixture of log jumps, dips, intense climbs, and fast flowing sections. There are downhills that offer the chance get up some speed and switchbacks that are technical enough for just about any rider. You'll also find a couple shallow water crossings. There are about 14 miles of trails to make it worth the drive. Plenty of connections/bailouts are available to change up the order of trails and make a full day of riding.

Trail 2 begins just after the Haul Road gate at the trailhead. This trail is easy singletrack around a meadow and is a good trail to warm up on for the rest of the ride.

Trail 2B begins at the end of Trail 2 with a short, steep climb called 'surprise hill'. It is wooded singletrack with a large ravine crossing near the middle. The ravine decent and climb are moderately steep.

Trail 3 is a short, easy section which begins at the bailout at the end of Trail 2B. It is a wide singletrack through a meadow area. The front half is a steady, slight incline, while the second half is a fast, moderately straight decline.

Trail 4A has wall ride turns, a drop section, water crossing, and a long climb called 'heartbreak hill'. It follows a twisting and slightly uphill path along ravine tops. There is an optional dip into the steep ravine called 'I-74'. Occasional log piles and skinnies are scattered throughout. At the end the rider can choose to continue straight to Trail 5 or switch to Trail 4B.

Trail 4B begins at the end of Trail 5 and the connector from Trail 4B. It is long, fast, and downhill with a drop midway and a table top at the end. The trail is relatively straight with good sightlines.

Trail 5 is a loop beginning and ending at the end of Trail 4A and the start of Trail 4B. It has a number of steep dips, log jumps, and a few narrow spots. There is a fast, flowing section before coming to the 'playground'.

Trail 6 starts out with moderate descents and climbs that soon lead to the 'three kings'. The 'three kings' are a series of steep climbs and descents with a couple dangerous switchbacks near the end. This section will certainly test any rider's skills.
Trail 7 begins on Haul Road just a short ride from Trail 6 and provides a return route to the trailhead. The trail contains a few ravine dips prior to the major ravine crossing near the middle. The ravine includes a water crossing and a steep climb and switchback. The remainder of the trail is moderately level and exits onto Haul Road.

Devil's Gulch has a fast off camber downhill turn followed by a tight windy climb. At the top of the climb is a sharp right to a log drop and a short steep table top. It continues through bench cut ravines, jumps, and log piles. It is touted as one of the most exhilarating portions of the system. A bailout connects the end of the trail to Haul Road.

Haul Road a dirt/gravel road running alongside the west side of the trail system. It is generally an easy ride that has several modest up and down hill portions. There are bailouts allowing riders to exit, or enter, the system. Bailouts are located at the end of trails 2B, 3, and Devil's Gulch.

Heaven and Hell is a complex section of the system beginning with narrow, bench cut downhills and tight switchbacks. This leads to a quick rise and drop in the middle before the trail begins an arduous climb back to the top of the ridge
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Nirvana begins roughly in the middle of Trail 4B and consists of a fast, steep downhill that transitions into flowing singletrack which gradually climbs up to meet the beginning of Trail 6. Alternatively, there is a connector prior to the end that joins near the beginning of Devil's Gulch.

Playground Loop is on the interior of Trail 5. A climb sets the rider up for a fast downhill with a number of jumps in succession. This is followed by another climb leading to a second faster, longer downhill with more jumps.

Session traverses the area between the beginning of Trail 4B and the middle of Trail 6. It slopes gradually downhill away from Trail 4B and is nearly straight. This is a great trail to use to reset your ride to the beginning of Trail 4B, Heaven and Hell, Nirvana, and Devil's Gulch.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • Restrooms 
Getting there
From I-74 get off at Oakwood exit 207 and head north. Take first right (about one mile to turn). Go through kickapoo, trailhead will be on left side of road about 1 mile out of the park.
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Ryan Shelton (on Jun 17, 2020)
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Dry (on Jul 3, 2020)
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Rider questions

Q: Ride when wet?
A: It is discouraged to ride the trails when wet so as to prevent erosion and trail degradation. Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club maintains the trails and posts updates on their Facebook page as to trail conditions during/after inclement weather.

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Reviews

  • wdrewlandis
    *****

    Great singletrack with a variety of challenges for all skill levels. Trails are rough and rooty, more of an XC variety. The descents are technical and the ascents are short but intense. Well-maintained by an amazing group of volunteers and easily worth the trip. This is my home trail system and I ride it as much as I can!

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  • MTBtravler
    *****

    Located just 30 minutes east of Champaign-Urbana and a mere 10 minutes west of Danville, the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Trails and KMBC were established in 1993.

    You'll find 17 miles of singletrack bike trail at Kickapoo (all of which is unidirectional) with an additional 5 miles of gravel/dirt road. The trails have signage and offer a variety of challenges for every level of rider. Roots, rocks, off-camber trail, climbs, descents, flow, creek-crossings, gorgeous views overlooking the lakes and the "National Wild and Scenic" Middle Fork River -- Kickapoo has it all. These features and a dedicated force of KMBC volunteers make these trails some of the best in the Midwest.

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  • J-Dogg
    ****

    Stopped in after DuPont, Pisgah and Brown County on my way west and what a nice surprise! Not quite in their league but much better than a poke in the eye with a sharp spoke. Well maintained and well marked. Take the trails 1 through 9 for a nice woodsy, rolling 10 mile workout. I rode from the campground which is about 2 miles away.

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  • cjsutterer
    *****

    These trails really are a lot of fun. It was my second time. They haven't changed much in three years. Fast and flowy and a lot of fun. I did notice they've added quite a few small jobs which up the fun factor. Great selection of spiderwebs too! Yay

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  • Samuel Poindexter
    *****

    Trails are great for people looking for a fun time to just get away from the city. Trails are easy to follow and trail maps are posted at two spots along the trails. Trails are labeled so you always know what trail you are on. Very well taken care of, and great for all levels of riders. GET OUT THERE!

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  • Mitch Bird
    ****

    Great trail system off Interstate-74 (i-74). Fast & flowy with some good features. Well marked/mapped trail. One direction. Intermediate.

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  • MTBtravler
    *****

    Hands down the best trail in IL. The volunteer work that has went into Kickapoo over the last 25 years is awe inspiring. It's hard to imagine that these trails are mostly hand cut. They flow well and they are built to withstand another 25 years of use. Get some rides in here, you won't regret it.

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  • indywood
    *****

    Fantastic mix of what makes riding the Midwest so much fun: roots, rocks, climbs, decents, and a good mix for all skill levels. Trails are easily navigated and marked. Great system.

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  • byby88
    ***

    Kickapoo is old school designed singletrack that has a bunch of roots on the trails. The highlights are heaven and hell and trails 2 8 and 9 in my opinion. It is best ridden with a full suspension bike because of how rough the trails are. It isn't a very physically demanding system unless you are riding at "race pace". Overall compared to Griffin Bike Park and Fay Pickering Memorial Trails it is just ok. It is a good system but as an intermediate rider I found it less than challenging. The log overs, log jumps, and root jumps are fun though?

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  • Bubblehead10MM
    *****

    Just an amazing trail system. Relentless saw tooth elevation profile so bring your legs and your smile:D the trail clearly has a dedicated group working it, though currently has its share of sticks, it's in great shape. Lots and lots of fun.

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  • mtbbossmann
    *****

    Route 1-5 and the Play Ground : I took my wife and 10 yr old daughter up here and had a a blast. For an experienced rider you can rip through the forest and have a great workout pounding up hills. The downhill portion especially the half pipe its more like a series of S turns down hill to a steep incline with speed you almost triple wall ride and a big rewarded drop at the end. For the beginners there is nothing to difficult at all the steep declines just hold on and get into gear to pedal the next hill going up. The play ground I was hoping to be a little bigger like BMX style but it's just a series of moderate drops and jumps which allowed everyone to go fast and hit some jumps. Great little training loop to repeat and get better at MTB skills. We will be doing the back half today!

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  • NicosGrandpa
    ****

    I simply was not setup for this track. That's my fault. I'm riding hybrid tires because I travel so much, I'm often on hard track, asphalt, sawdust. You need knob vies here period. It rained last night and there are some drops, slopes that will send you 100 feet down to a stream, bad news for someone not ready to ride greasy. One of the pro home track riders front end slip into the tree right in front of me and I caught it on my gopro. All I did was step aside for the faster riders and he took his eyes off me for 1 second and ate it good.

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  • tkgbjenn1
    ****

    Great trail to ride with a mix of levels. From an easy access Road to s ride into and out of a gulch. Lots a very creative man-made obstacles.

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  • CFM
    ****

    A great ride through the woods with plenty of roots, dips, log piles, and jumps to go with some great views. I followed the trails in numerical order and had no trouble getting back to the trailhead. Drainages are amazingly steep given the flat nature of most of the surrounding land. Very well laid out and armored in most of the low, wet areas.

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  • bboehman
    *****

    Great trail system and well worth the hour drive! Best trail I have ridden in Illinois and did a DINO race here a few years ago that was really tough! Love this place and can't wait to go back! They put a lot of effort into this place!

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  • SuperflyEli
    *****

    This is my favorite trail to ride in Illinois so far. There is a good mix of trails here and it offers a good workout. I ride out here as often as I can but lately the weather has been tearing this place up. Luckily the group that maintains this place does a great job. The only negative about this place would be the poor drainage which in turn causes the trails to be unusable very quickly.

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  • cynergy68
    ****

    This trail was a lot of fun. I drove about 200 miles to get there and I'm glad I did. The trail was tight and twisty with some miserable climbs (hells hill). There are some bail out sections should you want to head back. There are a lot of roots but absolutely no sand. All hard pack. The scenery is awesome.

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