Cycle Chicago, Sightseeing Ride, Millennium Trail & Lakewood Forest Preserve
This bike ride meanders from Volo in the northwest through Singing Hills Forest Preserve in Round Lake and Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda to Mundelein in the southeast. It encompasses broad prairies, shady forests and curvy subdivisions as well as straight highways. The variety is pleasant but you’ll need extra sunscreen since most of the ride is open. Plans call for tripling the length of the Millennium Trail, primarily northward. To the east, it currently leads to the North Shore Bike Path, which connects with many other trails.
This moderately hilly trail is surfaced with crushed limestone but many sections of the path are slippery and bumpy. There is a short paved section at each end of the ride.
Only a few cross streets, most of which are small.
This ride is not readily accessible by transit. By car, take Interstate 90 to Highway 53 and Highway 53 Extension going north. After 8.5 miles, take Lake Cook Road left (west) about half a mile to Rand Road and turn right. After 1.5 miles, turn right on Quentin Road. After 3.7 miles turn left on Old McHenry Road. After 0.6 miles turn right on Fairfield Road. The entrance to Lakewood Forest Preserve bike trailhead is 3.3 miles on the right.
Food and Drink
There’s drinking water available in the forest preserves but (refreshingly) this ride passes no convenience stores or fast food restaurants. You can get a drink, however, at the Country Bumpkin Garden Center at Gilmer Road and Hawley Street, 20.2 miles in.
Visit the attractive Lake County Discovery Museum, about a mile west from the trailhead, across Fairfield Road. It covers Lake County’s history and natural history.
Although far from downtown Chicago, this long and winding ride does not take you through the countryside or bucolic settings. Instead, much of it runs through suburban subdivisions, some of which will be filling in with tract housing as you ride by. Other parts of the bike ride parallel busy highways. Nevertheless, the trail has several attractive features.
It passes several small lakes but nary a strip mall. The trail is not crowded, and vehicular traffic is light throughout. And the diverse scenery and wide range of sights will keep you engaged. The wide but bumpy trail will keep you alert, as well. Parts of the crushed limestone path are sandy, which makes them prone to slippage and washouts. Be careful or you’ll go slip sliding away, especially on one of the many tight turns. This is fat-tire terrain. The relatively short paved sections on each end of the ride (north of Singing Hills Forest Preserve and east of the intersection of Highway 176 and Hawley Street) will provide a welcome break from the bumps and give you the feeling that you’re riding on glass.
One of the bike ride’s main attractions is the lovely Lakewood Forest Preserve at the start and end. With an incredible 2,708 acres, this is Lake County’s largest forest preserve. Early settlers farmed the land; their successors planted orchards and built a dairy ranch. The Lake County Forest Preserve District began acquiring land here in 1968 and continues to do so to this day. Although biking is not permitted on the forest preserve’s paths, it is allowed on the section of the Millennium Trail that passes through a magnificently wooded and gently hilly portion of the forest preserve.
After your bike ride, take time to hike around the wellkept forest preserve and then visit the attractive Lake County Discovery Museum inside the preserve.It covers the history and natural history of Lake County in a fun learning environment with plenty of interactive exhibits. The museum includes the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, the world’s largest public collection of post cards and related materials, with more than 365,000 postcards.
37.855 km / 23.522 mi
208 m / 682 ft
208 m / 682 ft
270 m / 885 ft