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Level: Intermediate
Length: 0 mi (0 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,121/849 ft
Total: 358 riders

Mountain Biking Palos Forest Preserve

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#1 of 127 mountain bike trails in Illinois
#88 in the world

Several miles of trails with varying difficulty, tough singletrack, log jumps, steep climbs and downhills. some trails are shared with equestrian riders.

First added by alvin.santoy on Jan 1, 2003. Last updated May 11, 2020. → add an update
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    Palos Forest Preserve Trail map

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    Local Info

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    Sjumpr1 (8 hours ago)
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    Dry (4 hours ago)
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    Riding Palos Park
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    Rider questions

    Q: Is this bmx rider friendly?

    Q: were is exactly the trail, is there a sign?
    A: GPS Coordinates: 41.301295, -81.804657

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    • Sjumpr1

      Average difficulty is Blue. Some Black, a little Green. It's not Whistler but Very good for midwest/Illinois. 20 miles outside Chicago. About 50 miles of trails. Flowy, some moderate climbing, some good technical stuff, fun. Will test your fitness. Pretty good race held here every August, The Palos Meltdown. 2 way trails aren't ideal but you adapt. Typical heavy dose of midwest rocks and roots. A few features here and there, small drops, log overs, small jumps.....nice little gem if you're visiting Chicago.

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    • JeffL22   ✓ supporter
      Reviewing Spears Woods:

      A nice 2.7 mile loop that's easy to navigate with moderate elevation. It's a gravel trail and they filled in some spots so it's a little loose in spots but no biggie.

      This trail joins up with the Palos trail system so there are plenty of places to go from this one.

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    • Jacob Butler

      Great stop on the way West.

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    • doug928

      Are you looking for trails to take a first timer on? Are you looking for trails to test the new mountain bike? Are you used to super technical rocky trail features that test your skills?

      All of this and more can be found here. From Man-made features, to flow lines, to miles of singletrack. Palos has it all. It's easy to do loops from the different staging areas and get 30 miles or more in, or do an out and back for a short trip on Singletrack. From the old favorites of 3 Ravines, to newer recently built trails, it's easy to spend a weekend or more exploring this system.

      It's also worth noting that some of trails intersect with a historical marker that is cool to check out - google "Chicago Pile"

      At the end of the day, lots of very cool eateries are within a short drive from this trail system. So go ride, get miles and smiles and fun in, then check out the local breweries for post ride refreshments.

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    • sbernal1

      Most of what you say is true. I avoid these trails on weekends. Also the CAMBR Palos Meltdown Race is no longer fun due to the uncontrolled number of rider sign ups.

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    • Grunsy152

      The best MTB trails in chicagoland area, be careful of on coming riders. There's enough trails to spend an entire day or even a weekend. Bug spray is a must for sure and it can flood from time to time. If you want to get some solid trails in and your in Northern Illinois or Southern Wisconsin then here or Kettle Moraine is a must.

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    • Noob84

      First time on this trail today and I love it. A little bit of everything and a lot of fun.

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    • MurphyStPatrick
      Reviewing Spears Woods:

      A fun trail with plenty of miles for a good work-out. It has a few interesting technical root sections and tight turns that are fun to carry with speed. Overall it's an easy trail that had a better than expected flow and feel given its location in Chicago suberbia. The biggest negative is the two way way traffic on a busy trail that lead to numerous stressful blind corners and forced a slower pace.

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    • Mtbert

      Great trails! Technical and fast. 2 way trails have their obvious problems. It does give you options for routes though and 95% of riders/hikers were communicating well and everyone was friendly.

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    • finerbiner

      A great trail system. Lots of miles and different terrain. XX, dynamite road, three ravines, cemetary hill and stone house are some of the premium rides.

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    • Ron Thomas

      Around 25 miles of great XC single track. The Cook County Forest Preserve District has partnered with the local IMBA chapter to build and maintain the trails. The results are the longest and best trails in Chicagoland. Get to the Mountainbike Project app for the best descriptions and up to date maps.

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    • Chris Chambers   ✓ supporter

      Hard to ride because of litttle signage. Multi directional trails keeps you on your toes . Lots of berms and other features. The 1.25 hr trip from Kenosha was worth it, should have gave myself more time. I will be back Palos!! I hit XX , Dynamite Road , Three Ravines and the Yellow trail of course. I got a bit lost as to how to get back to the parking lot, fortunately I ran into some awesome locals and they gave me directions :)

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    • bomboy

      Great system

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    • johnny90

      Solid trails...lots of options! ??'?

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    • *****

      These are my home court trials. They are all I really know, but they keep me riding and enjoying my Moutain Bike. Lots of hills, twists and turns to keep it interesting.

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    • Jason Liske

      The Palos trails system is top notch, there are so many trails to ride, really something for everyone. I rode the Palos Meltdown Race loop but there are more trails here than this. I kind of enjoyed some of the double track and dirt road connectors, it's a great place to catch up with friends before any shredding you feel like doing starts up, a nice mix. I'll echo what others say about usage - these trails are busy so don't plan on strava-ing out on the weekend! I would have given 4 stars if it was set up more like a competitive stacked loop with directional usage. They also have camping here now so it's pretty cool just getting up in the morning and going for a ride - at bullfrog lake. We brought our RV here for a week as we roadschool our boys across the US. Gates close at 10PM.

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