Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail

CYCLE CHICAGO, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, ILLINOIS & MICHIGAN CANAL TRAIL This bike ride allows you to experience history by seeing part of what’s left of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, a waterway that played a vital role in the development of Chicago. Starting in Willow Springs, this short easy ride will introduce you to the canal, which put Chicago on the map in the 1840s. Afterward or on another day you’ll be ready to ride the Centennial Trail, where you will be able to explore this canal in greater depth as well as two other parallel waterways: the Sanitary & Ship Canal and Des Plaines River. This trail follows the canal’s towpath, where mules once pulled barges full of merchandise and immigrants. With plenty of shade along the way, this ride is straight, easy and pleasant, which explains why it’s so popular, especially during weekends in the summer. Side Trip Bike the equally historic and enjoyable Centennial Trail. FOOD AND DRINK Water at the trailhead and several food and drink options near Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road/104th Avenue. ACCESS Take Metra’s aptly named Heritage Corridor line to Willow Springs, which is right next to the trailhead. Cross the tracks and bridge going north and enter forest preserve parking lot on the left. By car, exit Interstate 55 at La Grange Road (Highways 12, 20 and 45) going south. Turn right at Archer Avenue and drive 1.5 miles to Willow Springs Road. Turn right at the next street, Willow Boulevard, and take the road as it turns right, following signs for train station. Before the station turn left following signs for bike trail. After crossing the bridge, turn left into forest preserve parking.
Ride type:
Sightseeing
Mountain biking
Road riding
Commuter
Kid friendly
Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
Ride Duration: 1-2 hours
Fitness Level: Low
Terrain:
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
On-Road
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance (Kms): 18.0
Services:
Water
Food
First Aid
Toilets
Bike hire facilities
Carparking
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber

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