Deer Grove Trail & Palatine Trail

Cycle Chicago, Sightseeing Ride, Deer Grove Trail & Palatine Trail

This bike ride in Palatine links a relatively small forest preserve multiuse trail with an extensive suburban bike trail system. It’s a wonderful example of how connecting trails allow you to vary your route and enjoy multiple areas and diverse settings - all in one ride. Such variety keeps a bike ride interesting.


Paved paths with gentle curves and easy hills. Enjoy secluded sections and open spaces; sun and shade; bucolic areas and suburban scenes.


There’s only one road crossing in the Deer Grove Trail. The Palatine Trail, however, crosses a few busy roads and several quiet residential streets.


Take Metra’s Union Pacific Northwestern Line to Palatine and bike north on Smith Road to Dundee Road. Turn right; after 400 feet turn left on Pepper Tree Drive going into the preserve. The Pace #699 bus will get you to Dundee and Hicks roads, half a mile east of the entrance.

By car, enter the preserve from Dundee Road going north on Pepper Tree Drive, half a mile west of Hicks Road and two miles east of Route 14 (Northwest Highway).

Food and Drink

Plenty of water along the way, but no convenient restaurants or stores. Best to pack a lunch to enjoy at one of many picnic spots.

Side Trip

At about 5.4 miles on the way out or 10.7 miles on the way back, go south through Ashwood Park and pick up the Palatine Trail heading south along Benton Street. This would add up to 10 miles along well-marked residential streets to your ride.


More Details

Deer Grove Forest Preserve

This 1,800-acre forest preserve is aptly named because you’re likely to see deer, especially early and late in the day, as well as many other wildlife including elks, hummingbirds and water striders. It offers a mixture of rolling upland forests, ravines and open meadows, with wetlands and streams that feed two small lakes.

The main loop, the Red Trail, has several lateral cracks in the pavement, which will make the ride a little bumpy on a road bike. Quentin Road divides the preserve into two sections (east and west). The Black Trail into the western section is smoother and more wooded than the Red Trail.

Deer Grove is one of the oldest preserves in Cook County. On a stone marker at the western end of the trail at Quentin and Dundee roads, a charming but not politically correct inscription by today’s standards says, “Thousands of acres of forest skirting Cook County shall remain as the red men left them, that the health, strength, womanhood and manhood of our American posterity may benefit by this foresight.

To the athletically inclined, there are outdoor sports–to the fishermen, well stocked streams–to the floriculutralists, the wild flowers–to the tourists, comfort–to the infirmed, hope–to the future, the untrammeled, unmolested virgin fields and forests–our tribute to future generations.”

After an initial visit to get acquainted with the preserve, come back and explore the extensive network of almost 10 miles of mountain bike trails, some of which are pretty rugged. Be sure to stay on designated bike trails, however, since the preserve has suffered a great deal of damage and erosion due to mountain biking in unauthorized areas.

Palatine Trail

This trail is more linear, developed and suburban than the forest preserve trail, and it runs along utility lines much of the way. Nevertheless, it’s quite pleasant and scenic, passing parks and schools, beautiful homes and wooded areas. The trail connects with other trails, including the Arlington Heights Bikeway.

The Palatine Trail crosses several residential streets and a few busy roads. At Hicks Road, it features a safe and convenient underpass. Wouldn’t it be nice if all busy road crossings along Chicagoland’s bicycle trails were replaced with such an underpass or a bike bridge!


Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start the Red Trail at northeast corner of parking area, going counterclockwise.
  • 2.1 Bear right onto paved Black Trail.
  • 2.7 Cross Quentin Rd and pick up Black Trail a little to the left.
  • 3.0 Parking on right. Continue forward through parking area on right.
  • 3.1 At end of parking turnaround, pick up trail to the right.
  • 3.2 Leave Deer Grove Forest Preserve and continue ride on Palatine Bike Trail by crossing Quentin Rd, then Dundee Rd.
  • 3.3 Follow path east along Dundee Rd for a short distance.
  • 3.6 Pick up trail into the woods on right.
  • 4.1 Slow down for curves and downhill.
  • 4.3 Cross small bridge.
  • 4.8 Cross Hamilton Dr.
  • 5.0 Cross Smith St.
  • 5.4 Bear left. Playground on right.
  • 5.5 Cross small wood bridge and bear to right.
  • 5.7 Slow down for small wood bridge.
  • 5.9 Slow down for small wood bridge and the bike through the underpass.
  • 6.0 Join sidewalk, which doubles as a bike path, along Hicks Rd.
  • 6.3 Turn right back onto the blacktop bike path. Cross a series of small residential streets.
  • 7.6 Lindberg Park on right.
  • 7.7 Bear right, following along the park on the right.
  • 8.2 In Maple Park on Anderson Rd turn around and return to Deer Grove.
  • 10.0 Turn left onto sidewalk along Hicks Rd that doubles as a bike trail.
  • 10.1 Turn left following trail under Hicks Rd.
  • 10.7 Bear left over bridge and take an immediate right, staying along creek.
  • 12.6 Turn left and follow path along left side of Dundee Rd.
  • 12.9 Turn right to cross Dundee Rd and turn left to cross Quentin Rd. Pick up Deer Grove’s Black Trail.
  • 13.1 Bike through parking area and road, bearing to your left. Pick up trail on the right.
  • 13.3 Turn right onto trail head.
  • 13.6 Cross Quentin Rd and continue on trail straight ahead. Parking on right.
  • 14.2 Bear right to rejoin Red Trail.
  • 15.0 End ride.
  • Trail map

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    23.222 km / 14.429 mi

    Total Distance

    190 m / 624 ft

    Total Ascent

    190 m / 623 ft

    Total Descent

    244 m / 799 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    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: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 15.0
    First Aid
    Bike hire
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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