Cycle Chicago, Sightseeing Ride, Greene Valley Forest Preserve

This trail begins in Woodridge and goes through the 1,414-acre Greene Valley Forest Preserve, with an optional extension along suburban streets. Biking through this serene forest preserve is so pleasant that it will inspire you to visit all of Chicagoland’s many other preserves. Here you’ll find woodlands, prairies, wetlands and a winding stream. You’ll also see the second highest point in DuPage County and an old farmhouse. This trail is not as busy as many other forest preserve trails, so don’t miss out. 

Terrain

Crushed limestone path over flat terrain with a couple of gentle inclines.

Traffic

Half a dozen road crossings within the forest preserve, and more than a dozen additional road crossings if you take the 10-mile extension at 7.3 miles to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

Access

The preserve is not convenient to transit. By car, exit Interstate 88 at Route 53 going south. Turn west on Hobson Road and then south on Greene Road. The entrance is about 1,000 feet on the left.

Food and Drink

Only water in the preserve, but plenty of fast food restaurants along the ride to Waterfall Glen from 7.3 miles to 17.3 miles.

Side Trip

Check out the scenic overview from Greene Valley Hill in the preserve.

 

More Details

In 1835, William Greene settled down in what is now part of the Greene Valley Forest Preserve. His home, the 1841 Oak Cottage, still stands on the northwest corner of the preserve and makes a good starting point for this ride. With more than 540 native plant species, this preserve is one of the most botanically diverse places in DuPage County. The ride goes through stands of oak, shrubby savannas, marshes and open grasslands.

A number of times it crosses Anderson Creek, which flows into the East Branch of the DuPage River. Most of the ride is exposed to the sun but there are many refreshing albeit short interludes of shade. Picnic areas abound, as do intersections with dirt and mowedgrass mountain bike trails. Note, however, that this preserve does not have trail signs at intersections to keep you on the right path. Early into the ride, there’s a huge dog park on the left. It’s over half a mile long and usually full of happily frolicking dogs. (Alas, your dog must have a permit to play.) A little farther into the ride, a big hill looms.

This former landfill was closed in 1996 and is now planted with native grasses and shrubs intended to attract some of the 370 native animals that call the area home. At 980 feet, the hill is the second highest point in the county. A scenic overlook at the top affords views of the DuPage River Valley and even Chicago in the distance. Nevertheless, this ride does not include the overlook because the hill is open only 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends from May through October. At the eastern end of the Greene Valley Forest Preserve you can turn around or continue on suburban bike paths five miles to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

Although this extension through Woodridge and Lemont parallels major roads, it demonstrates how safe and pleasant suburban bike paths can be. Many such suburban paths are smooth, well maintained and even picturesque. They allow you to extend rides, access other parks and discover new routes for getting around. Yes, you’ll encounter traffic and traffic lights but also fragrant flowers and handsome homes. If you have the time and energy, give this extension a try and see if you agree.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Begin on the Greene Trail at Greene Rd and Hobson Rd by going north from the parking area along the bike path. This is the best place to start so you can see the Oak Cottage and how the Greene Valley Forest Preserve connects with the DuPage County Regional Trail, which runs parallel to Hobson Rd. As you ride east, bear right where that regional trail branches off to the left.
  • 0.4 Cross small wooden bridge.
  • 0.5 Continue straight. Note two small paths on the right back to parking. Huge dog park on left. 0.8 Cross 75th St with the light.
  • 1.0 Turn right at T.
  • 1.3 Turn right on connector to Main Trail.
  • 1.4 Cross Greene Rd.
  • 1.5 Turn right onto the Main Trail.
  • 2.2 Cross 79th St.
  • 2.4 Bear right.
  • 2.9 Bear left, passing parking on the right and exercise bars on the left.
  • 3.2 Bear right.
  • 3.6 Careful going through sharp turns in this section of the trail.
  • 3.9 Continue straight to stay on Main Trail.
  • 4.2 Cross 79th St.
  • 4.3 Turn right onto connector path to Greene Trail.
  • 4.4 Cross Greene Rd.
  • 4.5 Turn right at T.
  • 4.7 Turn left to stay on Greene Trail.
  • 4.8 Turn right to stay on Greene Trail.
  • 4.9 Turn right onto Oak Spur Trail.
  • 5.6 Bear to the right to loop around the end of this trail.
  • 5.9 Bear right.
  • 6.6 Continue straight back onto Greene Trail.
  • 6.9 Cross small wooden bridge.
  • 7.3 Decision point: bike to the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve or turn around and take the Greene Trail back to the start of this ride. If not, skip to
  • 17.3 miles. If taking the 10-mile extension, cross Route 53 and follow the blacktop bike path along 83rd St that doubles as a sidewalk. Don’t worry; it’s only a short climb.
  • 8.5 Cross Janes Ave and then 83rd St to follow the bike path east along 83rd St on the other side of the road.
  • 9.0 Cross Woodward Ave and turn right.
  • 9.6 Cross 87th St.
  • 11.4 Turn left on 101st St.
  • 12.2 Cross Lemont Rd and proceed to the right around the bend into Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.
  • 12.5 Turn around and cross Lemont Rd to take the Waterfall Glen Spur due west.
  • 13.2 Turn right on Woodward Ave.
  • 15.6 Cross Woodward Ave (but not 83rd St) and follow bike path along south side of 83rd St.
  • 16.1 Cross 83rd St and then cross Janes Ave to follow the bike path west along 83rd St.
  • 17.1 Slow down approaching Route 53.
  • 17.3 Cross Route 53 and pick up the Greene Trail in the forest preserve.
  • 18.0 Turn right.
  • 18.1 Turn right onto Valley Trail.
  • 19.1 Turn right onto Greene Trail.
  • 19.2 Cross 75th St.
  • 19.5 Finish at parking lot on left or continue back to Oak Cottage.
  • 20.0 End ride at Greene Rd and Hobson Rd.
  • Trail map

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    31.154 km / 19.358 mi

    Total Distance

    190 m / 623 ft

    Total Ascent

    190 m / 625 ft

    Total Descent

    236 m / 773 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 32.0
    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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