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Level: Intermediate
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,121/849 ft
Total: 351 riders

Mountain Biking Palos Forest Preserve

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#22 of 108 mountain bike trails in Illinois
#1680 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.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
South of I-294 and I-55. Just 30 min from downtown Chicago.
System trails (2)
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Palos Forest Preserve Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

Jon C (3 weeks ago)
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Trail conditions

Tacky (4 days ago)
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Camping & Lodging

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Palos Forest Preserve videos

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Riding Palos Park

Mountain Bike Trails Near Willow Springs, Illinois

Intermediate | 0 mi
Beginner | 1 mi
Easiest | 10 mi

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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  • 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

    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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  • *****

    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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  • Ryan Milenkoff

    This place sucked a bucket of buttholes. Stupid ass people walking dogs and shit on the trails like who in the fuck invited you. No good maps... no Directions or arrows. You have to stop every 3 minutes and no one calls out how many are in the group or anything. I would have rather been in church..

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  • Brandon Kubiak

    Mountain biking trails are very difficult to find in the Chicago area. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the glaciers were not as friendly to us as they were to our neighbors to the north, on the other side of the cheddar curtain. My son mountain biked with his boy scouts group at the kettle moraine south, winning the award "most eager to get injured", which made me apprehensive to take him without reviewing it myself first. I ran the trails on foot the day before, the "out and back", the "gravity cavity", and finding some nuclear landmarks. Great run. I felt there were spots that were very challenging, but doable for a 12 year old. It ended up being a very rewarding day of mounting biking for the both of us. Again, you have to consider the area, and for being so busy, so close to Chicago where there's nothing but flat for hundred mile radius, these trails were awesome. I found it comparable to the kettle moraines in difficulty, although not as safe with the 2-way traffic in Palos. Riders are very considerate (on a busy Sunday), everyone was heads up and calling out how many in their group, polite and under control.

    I'll be checking out the Saw Week Kee park or whatever it's called in Oswego soon to compare.

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