Cycle Chicago, Mountain Bike Ride, Arie Crown Trail
This short bike ride near Hodgkins and Countryside can serve as an introduction to mountain biking for novices. Much of the path is crushed limestone, but significant portions of it are over dirt or grass, and quite narrow at times. A few small hills and some bumpy sections add to the excitement. Overall, it’s a rugged bike ride but manageable because it’s so short and so well patronized.
A combination of crushed limestone and dirt paths.
Exit Interstate 55 at La Grange Road (Highways 12, 20 and 45). Go north to the second entrance to Arie Crown Woods on the left, which is for Sundown Meadow. The trail starts at the map on the left as you enter the third of three connected parking lots.
Food and Drink
Only water in the forest preserve.
Arie Crown Woods is nestled between several attractive forest preserves with great bicycle paths. Since this ride is short, think about coupling it with a pedal through the Palos Forest Preserve, along Salt Creek, in Fullersburg Woods or down the Illinois & Michigan Canal, all of which are nearby
This bike ride is thoroughly enjoyable because it allows you to test your interest in mountain biking or to practice any nascent skills you already have in that department. Two trails loop through the heavily wooded 250-acre Arie Crown Forest Preserve, so you can ride around and around without seeing more than an occasional automobile.
The path runs over crushed limestone, dirt and grass with single-track sections. Rocks, tree roots, mud or dust (depending on the recent weather) and fallen branches keep things interesting. There are no major streets to deal with - only a few park roads so you can lose yourself, literally and figuratively, in the hardy, dense, outdoor experience. Don’t worry about getting lost for long however; the trails are well marked, except at one point, which is noted in the Ride Log. Several picnic shelters offer great places to relax, as does Lake Ida in Sundown Meadow near the start and finish of the ride.
The forest preserve is named after Arie Crown, a Lithuanian immigrant who was the father of billionaire Henry Crown, a noted industrialist and generous philanthropist throughout Chicagoland. A better known namesake of the Crown family is the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place on Lake Shore Drive, which opened in 1960 and seats 4,250 people, making it one of the area’s largest theaters.
All of the other forest preserve trails in Cook County are paved, so take advantage of this rough ride to enjoy a different kind of bicycling adventure. The trail is not so rough that you will need a mountain bike or special padding and wrist guards. A hybrid or comfort bike will do just fine. Still, leave your track bike or road bike - as well as your white pants - at home.
6.103 km / 3.792 mi
187 m / 614 ft
187 m / 612 ft
224 m / 734 ft