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Level: Advanced
Length: 10 mi (16.1 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +330/ -415 ft
Total: 157 riders
 

Mountain Biking Saw Wee Kee Park

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#2 of 128 mountain bike trails in Illinois
#183 in the world

1st leg (assuming spring flooding hasn't closed off any trails)
Starting from the second lot, there is a trailhead by the picnic table that quickly takes you to a T intersection. Take a right here and go west. Shortly, the trail drops down and forks. Stay right and parallel the road, passing thru a debris lot (stumps, grass, etc.). A few hundred yards later, you'll need to take a fork on your right that then brings you to a fire road. Cross over and follow the widetrack (Lolligagger) past two houses. A little after that, jump onto a singletrack trail on your left, called Jack Rabbit. This fun trail takes you over low and medium-sized rollers before coming to a Y intersection. Take a left and continue on along the Cotton Candy Trail, which follows the Fox River. After the large dip, you'll quickly come to a cleared singletrack trail on your left called Colossus. Here, you'll discover a collection of short climbs and quick drops that are sure to challenge you!

After the second substantial climb, take a right at the Y intersection (a left takes you to a road on private property). The trick to following the trail then comes when you reach the soft beach sand. Keep your eyes open for a trail on your left. Follow it and stay to the left. You'll have to really charge over an eroded lip to ride the Plateau, before dropping back down into the sand again. At this point, you're actually a stone's throw from where you first took a left in the sand. Take a left here and head uphill, riding alongside a campground (be careful of the wire fence). The trail ends back at the Fox River, at the west end of Cotton Candy.

We're gonna head back to the central part of the park, so take this trail and you'll return to Jack Rabbit (or ride Colossus backwards and try your luck on the climbs!). Retracing some of your ride in, follow Jack Rabbit to Lolligagger and then Lolligagger back to the fire road. Take a right and go a few dozen feet to the next left. If you continue on, you'll see signs pointing out that you are entering private property, so be mindful of where you are.

After taking the left, you'll ride back thru the stump lot. Take a right just after it and follow alongside a steep ridge to your right. This trail is Concession Stand. At the next intersection, go right and then left (skipping the trail on the right with a quick climb) Follow the trail around to the right and you'll pass between two high mounds. After this, take a right and you'll be on the Dominator Trail. This trail has a lot of connectors and cut-thru's used by the equestrians, so getting off course can be easy without a guide.

There are two intersections at the start. Go right at the first one, and take a hard left at the second (you should have a log just ahead of you across the trail). Shortly, the trail will go up a small rise and bend around to the right. You'll see the stump lot off to your left. The trail then bends left as you get onto a ridgeline. Here, the trail again gets confusing with intersections and cut-thru's. Take the first left and ride down a chute and up the other side. Follow to the right and go up the steep climb to a high mound. At the top, the trail loops around the mound and comes back to the top, so take a left, shoot down the hillside and climb back up the other side of the high mound. Now get ready for some fun! Take a left and hit the steep drop to a tabletop mound. The trail drops off again after the mound, so if you're not careful you can get air off the tabletop and not be ready for the second, smaller drop. After this, ride back up to the ridgeline take a left. You'll weave around some and come to yet another intersection. Go right and you'll find yourself droping down onto Concession Stand again.

2nd leg
Retrace your route over Concession Stand for a hundred feet or so. Take two lefts and you're now on Vertical Velocity, one of several ridgeline trails in the park, which is shaped like a lollipop . It bobs you up and down over the rollers before bringing you to two fast decents that earned it its name. Ignore the fork on your left before getting to the steep stuff. After the second drop, you'll come to another intersection. Take the right that goes uphill to Coney Island. Follow it to the left and you'll have a tough climb ahead, followed by a quick and steep drop to your right. Stay right and follow along the tail end of Boulderdash.

At the T intersection, turn right and then take a left. This gets you onto a short trail called Screamer, which brings you back to the middle of Coney Island. Take a left here and then a right back onto Vertical Velocity. You're now at a T intersection (had enough of intersections yet??). Go left and finish the loop of the lollipop, riding a few short, winding decents on the way. For these, just remember to keep your weight back, use more front brake than back brake, and look where you want the bike to go. When you close the loop, go right and retrace your route back to Concession Stand. At that intersection, stay to the right until you see an uphill climb ahead of you. This is actually the first drop you did at the start of the ride. Pick up speed to make the climb and head to the right. You'll shortly be back by the parking lot, so take a break if you need it.

3rd leg
If you skip the turn for the parking lot, the trail continues straight on and becomes Wildcat. This is another trail that won't let you get too comfortable in one position for long--it bobs and spins like an untamed beast! To make things more difficult, there are a number of connector trails branching off that will confuse you. Generally, if you stay left you're safe. The trail splits at one point and comes back together, but the stay-left rule will get you through until you are more familiar with the alternatives. The exception is a left that takes you to the first parking lot. When you find yourself dropping down to a road, back up and take the right turn instead.

Now, stay right at the next intersections. Finish the end of Wildcat and the next right turn gets you onto Vortex, a trail with a bubble of extra trail that takes things up a notch. Staying to the right gets you the full force of this trail, then dumps you out at the Quarry, an open area that was once a large open pit. Take a left here and another left onto the CAMBr Freeway. Follow it for a few hundred feet and you'll find a right that takes you to Kentucky Rumbler. The start is deceptively simple, with a fairly straight run. Follow this to the second left (marked by logs over the trail blocking your way forward). After some easy winding thru the woods, this trail throws some challenges at you like on Vortex. Just before things get tough, there's a short by-pass to your left that beginners can us to avoid getting in over their head. If you press straight on, the trail loops around to the left and returns you to the straight section at the start. Go right and return to the CAMBr Freeway.

Here, take a left and go back to the Quarry. Take a right and ride counter-clockwise around the quarry on Boulderdash. The trail angles up before going back into the woods. At the next intersection, where you went right to ride Screamer, take a left and try your luck on Anaconda. This is a very fun and very challenging trail, which starts with two quick and steep climbs that you'll have to attack with a purpose. Once you get a sense of its twisting, wriggling, up and down course, you'll appreciate the name. The terminus brings you once again to Concession Stand. Now you've covered most everything the park has to offer. So once on Concession Stand, follow to the right and you'll find yourself back at the parking lot.

If you've made it to this point without getting lost or regretting not riding more often, congratulations! Throw a post on the CAMBR message board and tell us what you thought of your first ride at Saw Wee Kee.

If you want more, you can ride the road to the left and quickly find a trail on the right that parallels the river. This trail, Gnat Catcher (you'll understand if you ride it in the spring), takes you to the first parking lot. Ride thru the lot and get onto the road, keeping the same heading. On your right will be the start of CAMBr Freeway (take either the first entrance with the log-over, or the second one without an obstacle). From here, you can shortly take a right back onto Vortex or Wildcat, continue on to Kentucky Rumbler or the Quarry, or keep going til you get to the fire road. Your destination now is whatever you want to ride again.

Background
Saw Wee Kee Park was once a strip mine, which accounts for the lumpy, rock strewn terrain. But years of disuse have allowed the forest to reclaim it. During that time, equestrians built trails through the park, though there was no formal group tasked with trail upkeep. It was only recently that mountain bikers were able to put substantial time into clearing out the overgrowth and making these trails usable by all trail users.

There is a hunting club that borders the park on the south, which includes a couple shooting ranges, so riders should take care to stay within the park. The ranges have backstops to keep any bullets from flying into the park, so there's no danger to anyone riding the trails, though the noise might make you feel otherwise. You might notice some hunting blinds on their land too, like to the south when you're on Jack Rabbit (which skirts the property line). Hunters know where the boundary is, but should you spot any hunters within the park, be sure to call the cops.

First added by kramwc on Aug 19, 2009. Last updated Nov 29, 2023. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
The park is a couple miles west of downtown Oswego. From Chicago, take I-290 west to I-88. At Rte. 59, go south a few miles to Rte. 34 (Ogden Ave.). Turn right and go about 10 minutes until you get beyond a golf course on your left. At the next major intersection, go straight and you will be on Rte. 71. Continue on for a few more miles until you reach Orchard Rd. Turn right and then take a left before the river onto Budlong Rd. Take another right and follow the river for a 1/2 mile to the park. Your best bet is to park at the second lot, which gives you a more central location to the trails.
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Q: Yes

Q: Do you allow bmx bikes
A: They do allow them however not really the best place to ride them