Buffalo Creek Preserve & Buffalo Grove

Cycle Chicago, Sightseeing Ride, Buffalo Creek Preserve & Buffalo Grove

This ride links the attractive Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve near Buffalo Grove and Long Grove with a bike path around the neighboring Buffalo Grove Golf Course. Though the 408-acre forest preserve is smaller than most such parks in the region, it’s quite pleasant.But let’s face it, one reason this preserve made the cut was that it’s near Long Grove. That gives you a plausible excuse to visit this quaint town and sample some of its delicious chocolates.


Crushed limestone over a gently rolling landscape through the forest preserve. In Buffalo Grove, you’ll ride over paved bike paths next to city streets, and bike lanes on city streets.


None in the forest preserve and very little on the continuation of the ride along bike paths and bike lanes in Buffalo Grove.


This ride is not readily accessible by transit. By car, take Lake Cook Road or Mundelein Road (Highway 83) to Arlington Heights Road in Buffalo Grove. The entrance to the forest preserve is on Checker Road about midway between Lake Cook Road and Mundelein Road. Turn west from Arlington Heights Road onto Checker Road and enter the preserve on the south side of the street after about 500 feet.

Food and Drink

There’s water available in the preserve but not much else along this ride.

Side Trip

Visit Long Grove, a beautiful old-fashioned town with great shopping that’s famous for its artisan chocolate shops.


More Details

The Buffalo Grove Forest Preserve is found in a quiet natural setting and offers a short, easy trail for exploring nature on two wheels. The trail runs through open areas, crosses creeks and encircles a manmade reservoir. Most of this property was once owned by farmers, who initially ran a dairy farm here and then grew wheat, corn and soybeans. Prior to being farmed, the land was a tall-grass prairie, which is now being restored.

The Lake County Forest Preserves began acquiring the land in 1978, partly because of its potential for flood control. Subsequently, Buffalo Creek was dammed and a reservoir was created that is used to control the flow of water through Buffalo Creek.

The reservoir and adjacent wetlands and prairies, all of which seem to be surrounded by a ring of trees, make for an agreeable variety of vegetation and vistas. The forest preserve notes, “Although the land has been drastically altered, first by farming and later during reservoir construction, a surprising diversity of grassland birds use the preserve, including bobolinks and eastern meadowlarks.” Alas, the crushed limestone trail is not in the best shape.

Several sections have ruts and gouges that appear to have been caused by runoff water. In addition, the trails are not marked, and there are few benches or picnic tables at which to relax. Nevertheless, the distance is not great, so stay alert, follow the log and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Long Grove

Visit nearby Long Grove, just to the north of Buffalo Grove, and taste its famous chocolates. Settled in the 1840s, Long Grove has been able to preserve its “country atmosphere.” Due to strict building ordinances, there are no sidewalks, street lights, neon signs or even curbs throughout the village’s many communities. The locals frown on convenience stores and chain stores, and a new business construction is required to feature an 1880s-style facade. The historic town is something to see, so take a trip back in time.


Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the large stone marker next to the parking lot. Bike due west on the main path.
  • 0.6 Cross small bridge.
  • 1.0 Careful crossing busy Schaeffer Rd and bear right at Y.
  • 1.6 Bear left to stay on main path.
  • 3.6 Bear right and pass washrooms.
  • 4.2 Cross Arlington Heights Rd and bike east on path along north side of Lake Cook Rd.
  • 5.0 Golf course on left.
  • 5.1 Bear left onto Church Rd, leaving behind Lake Cook Rd.
  • 5.5 Turn left onto the sidewalk, which doubles as a bike path, along the west side of Buffalo Grove Rd.
  • 5.6 Cross Old Checker Rd and turn left onto bike path/ sidewalk on the north side of the street.
  • 6.1 Bear left.
  • 6.4 Turn left and cross Old Checker Rd. Follow bike path going west along the south side of Checker Dr.
  • 6.5 Continue biking west on the blacktop past a small park on the left.
  • 6.7 Do not bike all the way to Arlington Heights Rd. Instead, follow path to the left that leads to an underpass.
  • 6.8 Bike under Arlington Heights Rd.
  • 6.9 A bike path merges in from the right. At the Y, bear right.
  • 7.0 End ride.
  • Trail map

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    11.009 km / 6.841 mi

    Total Distance

    87 m / 286 ft

    Total Ascent

    88 m / 288 ft

    Total Descent

    228 m / 748 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: <1 hr
    Fitness Level: Low
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Excellent
    Estimated Distance: 7.0
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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