The Grand Illinois Trails is one of the most well known
bike trails in Illinois. This spectacular 475-mile trail
takes you through northern Illinois links Lake
Michigan with the Mississippi River and connects metropolitan Chicago, Rockford and the Quad Cities with rural communities, State Parks,
and a number other popular Illinois attractions.
The Grand Illinois Trail connects existing bike trails in Illinois such as the Chicago Lakefront Bike Path, Illinois and Michigan Canal and Hennepin Canal State Trails, Great River Trail, Pecatonica Prairie Path, Rock River Recreation Path, Long Prairie Trail, Fox River Trail, Illinois Prairie Path as well as a number of local roads. Maintenance of the trails is the result of an ongoing Illinois Department of Natural Resources partnership that includes three regional coalitions representing Northeastern Illinois, Canal Country and Northwestern Illinois. The Illinois Departments of Commerce and Community Affairs and Transportation, the Illinois Historic Presentation Agency, the Illinois Chapter of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the League of Illinois Bicyclists, Illinois Trail Riders and the Illinois Association of Park Districts are also involved in maintaining the Illinois bike trails that form the Grand Illinois Trail.
Highlights of these spectacular, interconnected bike trails in Illinois include:
- The Chicago Lakefront, which consists of 18.5 miles of paved trail between Bryn Mawr Avenue and 79th Street along Lake Michigan.
- The I&M Canal Trail has 55 miles of limestone trail between I-55 at Channahon to Lock 14 at LaSalle.
- The Hennepin Canal consists of 17 miles of limestone trail along the feeder canal between Rock Falls and Illinois Route 92.
- The Long Prairie Trail has 14.5 miles of paved trail through Boone County with trailheads at Capron and Poplar Grove.
- The Great River Trail has 8 miles of paved trail between 27th Street in Moline to Hampton.
- The Rock River Recreation Path consists of seven miles of paved trail that run between Davis Park in Rockford to Elmwood Road in Machesney Park.
Wherever you travel in the state, it is quite possible to find Illinois bike trails. For example, in Peoria, you will want to check out the Farmdale Recreation Area. Located in East Peoria, the Farmdale Recreation Area has both easy and challenging bicycle trails. If you are looking for an easy ride, follow the dirt roads that cross through the low-lying areas. On the other hand, adventure seekers should turn onto any of the dirt trails you find branching off the roads. These Illinois bike trails are narrower, more difficult to climb.
Bike Rentals in Illinois
No matter where you decide to cycle, you will probably want to look into bike rentals in Illinois. Bike Chicago is probably one of the most popular places for bike rentals in Illinois. They have locations in Millennium Park, North Avenue Beach, Foster Beach and the Navy Pier. They also feature a number of Chicago tours.
Following the bike trails in Illinois is a great way to stay in shape while enjoying the state's natural resources and attractions.