Des Plaines Trail Improvements

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is working on several projects on the Des Plaines Trail System to improve trail user experience, enhance safety and explore extending the trail.


On this page:



Project Areas Map (PDF)


Rail Crossing Improvement Between Golf Ave & Central Ave

The Forest Preserves is completing preliminary engineering for improving the rail crossing between Golf Rd and Central Rd where there is a trail gap.  The railroad tracks north of Golf Rd create a significant interruption to the trail’s continuity, present an unsafe environment for trail users and discourage use of the trail by residents of neighboring communities. This engineering study is funded by Invest in Cook.



Current Activities


A consultant team has been hired and completed initial site review.


A project Open House will be held at the Des Plaines Public Library (1501 Ellinwood St, Des Plaines, IL) on May 16, 2019 from 5:30-7:30 pm.


The Open House will provide community members with the opportunity to review exhibits, provide comments and meet with staff from the Forest Preserves of Cook County and study team representatives. Please contact Kindy Kruller at 708-771-1009 or for more information.


View Open House on Facebook


Improvements from North Ave to Touhy Ave


The Village of Rosemont, West Central Municipal Conference and the Forest Preserves are completing a preliminary engineering study on an 8.5-mile segment of the Des Plaines Trail System from North Ave to Touhy Ave. The West Central Municipal Conference and eight west suburban municipalities recognize that improvements are needed to make the trail usable following heavy rain storms, when river flooding makes much of the trail impassable.


The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning identifies the trail as a regionally-significant facility in its Northeastern Illinois Regional Greenways and Trails Plan because of its recreational value and the connections it provides between communities, parks, open spaces and other natural areas. This project is funded by Invest in Cook.



Current Activities


A consultant team has been hired and convened the working group.


Public meetings are planned for summer/fall 2019. Active Transportation Alliance initiated a study and developed a plan for this corridor:


Active Transportation Alliance Report (PDF)


South Extension Planning Study


The Des Plaines Trail System currently ends at Sunset Bridge Meadow, just north of North Ave. There is a gap, or missing segment, between North Ave and Ogden Ave approximately 6.5 miles in length. South of this gap, in the Village of Lyons, the Des Plaines Trail runs for approximately 1.3 miles from the Cermak Family Aquatic Center on Ogden Ave, south to the Chicago Portage National Historic Site.


This planning study will focus in on the southern-most segment of the gap between W 26th St and Ogden Ave. The goal of the project is to identify the most feasible alignment or route in this area, along with key community connector routes in the villages of Brookfield, Riverside, North Riverside and Lyons.


The study area was chosen because of the strong support from those municipalities, as well as the Brookfield Zoo, the Frederick Law Olmsted Society of Riverside and the West Central Municipal Conference.


The study will result in the recommendation of a preferred alignment that is feasible, cost-effective and consistent with stakeholder and community input and preferences. It will include a strategy for implementation and discussion of potential funding sources. This study is a CMAP Local Technical Assistance project.

This study is a first step toward the goal of closing the entire 6.5-mile gap and creating a connection between the Illinois Prairie Path and Salt Creek Greenway.


Take the South Extension Survey

The Forest Preserves and CMAP are seeking input and feedback from local stakeholders and study area residents to help identify priorities, constraints, challenges and opportunities.

South Extension Survey



Current Activities


The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is leading the planning study:


CMAP Planning Study Page

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County