Chicago, IL

What's the longest bike trail in Illinois?

Jennifer Geer

At 535 miles long, Illinois' longest bike trail takes riders past Lake Michigan, the northern border of the state, and the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.

(CHICAGO) There is still plenty of summertime left in Chicago, and one way to spend it is by exploring the scenic outdoors from your bike.

How about checking out the longest bike trail in Illinois. The path loops around the northern part of the state from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River and back along the Illinois River and the Hennepin Canal.

The longest bike trail in Illinois: The Grand Illinois Trail

The great thing about the Grand Illinois Trail is that you can make your ride as long or as short as you like. Take in a full day of riding, or just go for a few-hour trip exploring different sections along the path.

Around 200 miles of the path is paved, while the rest is on limestone or dirt paths. The trail was created by combining several other trail systems and bike paths throughout the state.

The trail takes you by cityscapes, farmlands, bridges, canals, rivers, prairies, and diverse wildlife.

Divided into ten sections, some of the popular subsections include:

  • Chicago Lakefront Path
  • Illinois Prairie Path
  • Great River Trail
  • Hennepin Canal Trail
  • I & M Canal Route
  • Fox River Trail
Chicago Lakefront PathPhoto byRobert V. RuggieroonUnsplash

The path will take you by some major attractions around Chicago including:

  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Navy Pier
  • Lake Michigan
  • Oak Park's Frank Lloyd Wright studio and home
  • Oak Park's Hemingway Museum
Railway Bridge at Lock 29 on the Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park Trail.Photo byKenneth Darland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head out of the city and into the suburbs to the Old Plank Road Trail and Thorn Creek Trail. Further away from the city takes you past unique Illinois attractions such as small towns, quaint roadside diners, ice cream shops, and plenty more.

A fully supported 6-day tour happens each June

Each June, Ride Illinois organizes a six-day bike tour covering between 210 to 375 miles. The ride is fully supported and takes you through northwest Illinois, including the Mississippi River and Quad Cities.

More than just a bike trail

The Grand Illinois Trail is not just for cyclists. Walkers, hikers, long-distance runners, horseback riders, campers, nature lovers, and bird watchers can hop on anywhere on the trail to enjoy our state's natural beauty.


Download the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Grand Illinois Trail Guide to learn everything you need before you go.


To get NewsBreak stories delivered for FREE on your phone, download the NewsBreak App. If you use my link, I get a small commission (at no cost to you.)

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area.

Chicago, IL

More from Jennifer Geer

Comments / 0