I’m working on a Five2Ride article for Illinois and I’m looking for input from locals on which trails in Illinois are “must ride.” As a starting point, these are the 5 most popular trails in IL according to Singletracks reviewers:
Saw Wee Kee
Are there any trails you’d remove from this list? If so, what would you replace them with?
Wildlife Prairie Park & Indy ( Independence Park) the Local mtb group P.A.M.B.A. ( Peoria Area Mountain Bike Assoc.) works tirelessly to build and maintain the trail systems in the Peoria and surrounding areas. Wildlife is possibly the best in the State. I believe we have 7 trail systems in the Peoria area alone.
I’ve ridden three of the five, so can’t speak about replacing Fay Pickering or Farmdale, but maybe others could comment. Raceway has a lot of development and improvements being made and might beat out one of those two.
Palos system is my home trails and the local group CAMBR does a great job, have only ridden the Beulah park trails besides these in Illinois. Usually I spend a good deal of time thinking about how I can leave this state and ride.
I haven’t ridden in Peoria but I really like Kickapoo and Palos. Kickapoo is like a mini Brown County and very well designed and constructed. It has flow and advanced sections like Heaven and Hell. Can’t miss Palos since its the largest area in Chicago. New Stonehouse trail is awesome and for techy sections head down to XX and XX extension. Only thing with Palos is that it can get crowded, so I avoid it on the weekends.
I agree that Raceway is gaining steam. It has a good amount of elevation change, given that it’s located in Illinois.
Palos has a good variety of trails, and they just put in a few big berms on one of the trails that make that section really fun. It’s probably my favorite in the area, just because you can go a few times a week and change up your route every time. They just won a good chunk of change from Michelob Ultra to improve the trails too, and that’s going to be awesome to see what can get done.
I really liked Kickapoo but it being one directional and one big loop is kind of a downside. It’s worth it to drive the 2.5 hours to it but I’m okay with it not being my home trail. That said, the trail crew does a great job maintaining it, and it has a nice amount of variety in the relatively small amount of land it has.
Imagination Glen in Portage IN is worth the hour drive from Chicago, pretty fun trail system.
I haven’t hit Rock Cut, Beulah, or any of the Peoria trails yet, but plan to this year. I know Beulah has had some really good work put in to improve what they have.
Every time I’m out by my parents house I try to ride at Lake Le-Aqua-Na, and that place has a TON of potential to be a BIG TIME destination, but I don’t know if there would be any area support to get solid singletrack made. I just don’t think a real mountain bike community exists there, but I would love to be proven wrong and would gladly help in getting something going. Every time I go there, it’s basically empty, it could really benefit more MTB traffic. If anyone has any more info on that, don’t hesitate to contact me.