Trail Descriptions

Region 2_Busse Woods


There are more than 100 miles of paved trails and over 200 miles of multi-use trails in the Forest Preserve. Please take note of our Rules of the Trail before your visit.


Following is information regarding our trails. Detailed maps of each trail, available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for downloading.


For information on our Nature Center Trails, visit our Nature Centers page.


Arie Crown Forest Bicycle Trail

Arie Crown Forest Bicycle Trail

The Arie Crown Trail System is a class I bicycle trail located in western Cook County, Illinois. This 3.2 mile long trail, surfaced with crushed gravel, winds through the scenic Arie Crown Forest near Hodgkins. Arie Crown Forest is conveniently located on LaGrange/Mannheim Road, just north of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55).


The Arie Crown Trail offers riders a natural setting of gently rolling hills and breathtaking beauty as it winds through the woods. Wildflowers and many other native plants adorn the trail’s edge, making it one of the more beautiful in the county.


While out riding, stop at one of the areas picnic shelters for lunch, or take a break at Sundown Meadow or Lake Ida and just sit back and relax.


Click here to view the Arie Crown Trail System map.

Burnham Greenway

Burnham Greenway

The Burnham Greenway is a former railroad right-of-way linking Chicago to Lansing.


Burnham Greenway North stretches 3.15 miles from Wolf Lake to 100th St., while Burnham Greenway South runs 2.1 miles between Green Lake Woods (159th St.) and State Street.


In 2014, the Forest Preserves will begin the Sand Ridge Bicycle Trail Project, a 1.3 mile long paved trail, connecting the existing Burnham Greenway Trail to the Sand Ridge Nature Center, in the communities of South Holland, Lansing and Calumet City. A new connection to the Burnham Greenway Trail through Eggers Woods in the southeast side of Chicago will also be added in 2014. The project is funded by the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP).


Click here to view the Burnham Greeway Trail System map.

Busse Woods Bicycle Trail

Busse Woods Bicycle Trail

The Busse Woods Trail System is located throughout the Ned Brown Preserve in northwestern Cook County, Illinois. This Class I bicycle trail is currently 11.2 miles long and winds through the meadows and forests around Busse Lake.


This trail is ideal for those riders wishing to drive to the area. You can stop at one of the convenient parking areas then unload your bicycle and ride the winding trail through the preserve. These parking areas as well as the trail are shown on the map.


The Ned Brown Preserve is a 3,700 acre holding located in northwestern Cook County. This preserve, also known as Busse Woods, surrounds Busse Lake, a 590 acre lake that serves as the focal point of the area. The trail winds through the forests and meadows around Busse Lake providing access to many of the preserves unique features. You can ride through a mature forest past a herd of elk, then head for the lake to watch the sailboats for awhile. If you have your gear along, try catching a northern pike at one of the six fishing walls. There are many opportunities waiting for you, so plan a time today to ride the Busse Woods Bicycle Trail.


Click here to view the Busse Woods Trail System map.

Deer Grove Bicycle Trail

Deer Grove Bicycle Trail

The Deer Grove Trail System is a Class I paved bicycle trail located in northwestern Cook County, Illinois. This bicycle trail is currently 3.9 miles long and winds through meadows and forests in the Deer Grove Preserve.


The Deer Grove Trail links with the Palatine Trail at Quentin and Dundee Roads offering extended bicycling opportunities. For those driving to the area, access to the trail can be gained at both Deer Grove and Deer Grove East parking facilities.


The Deer Grove Preserve is an 1800 acre holding located in northwestern Cook County, consisting of rolling upland forest interspersed with wooded ravines and wetlands. Picturesque creeks meander through this tract, feeding the two lakes located within the preserve. The Deer Grove Trail winds its way through these forests in Deer Grove past Camp Reinberg providing access to picnic areas located in Deer Grove East.


There is also a multi-use trail system at Deer Grove with an unpaved trail designated for bicyclists, equestrians, and hikers. Bicyclists and equestrians are restricted to the designated and maintained trails within Deer Grove. Off-trail riding is prohibited.


Click here to view the Deer Grove Trail map.

Des Plaines Trail

Des Plaines Trail

The Des Plaines River Trail extends approximately 50 miles from River Forest, in Central Cook County, north to the Wisconsin border. It is part of the greater Grand Illinois Trail which spans all of northern Illinois.


The Cook County portion of the trail is primarily unpaved and runs from River Forest to Potawatomi Woods.


Click here to view the Des Plaines-North map.

Click here to view the Des Plaines-South map. 

I & M Canal/Centennial Bicycle Trail

I & M Canal/Centennial Bicycle Trail

The Centennial and I & M Canal Trail is a Class I bicycle trail located in southwestern Cook County, Illinois. The paved bicycle trail is within the I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor, the first national park of its kind. The 8.9 mile trail consists of three sections; two (2) 3.3 mile loops and a 2.3 mile section that connects the two.


The Centennial Trail will be closed from Willow Springs Road to Route 83 from May 15, 2013 until early 2016. As an alternate, bicyclists can use the John Husar I&M Canal Trail, which connects to Centennial Trail at Route 83. Click here for more details. 


For those driving to the area, parking is available in the Forest Preserve District parking lot below Willow Springs Road. 


Click here to view the Centennial Trail map.

Click here to view the I & M Canal Trail map.

North Branch Bicycle Trail

North Branch Bicycle Trail

The North Branch Trail System is a Class I bicycle trail located in northwestern Cook County, Illinois. The trail starts at Caldwell and Devon Avenues in Chicago, and continues north approximately twenty (20) miles to Lake County, Illinois.


The trail winds along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the Skokie Lagoons, providing access to various picnic groves, golf courses and also the Chicago Botanic Garden. This trail will eventually connect the Green Bay Bicycle Trail as shown on the map.


The North Branch Trail offers bicycle riders many opportunities for fun, exercise and relaxation. You may want to pack a lunch and ride to pack a lunch and ride to the Chicago Botanic Garden or to one of the picnic groves along the trail. If you’re trying to get back into shape, determine a specific course from the map, and ride it regularly. There are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way, where you can get a drink of cold water from one of the convenient wells. Whether it’s the whole day or just an hour, plan time right now to get out and enjoy the beauty nature offers right in your own back yard.


Click here to view the North Branch Trail System (north) map.

Click here to view the North Branch Trail System (south) map.


Palos/Sag Valley Trail System

Palos/Sag Valley Trail System

The Palos and Sag Valley preserves, in Southwest Cook County, comprise our largest and most diversified holding. Mostly hilly and forested, they are notable for scenic beauty and rich in history back to glacial and geologic times. Masses of hawthorns and crabapples bloom in spring; the woodlands provide colorful autumn foliage. There are fine upland meadows; many lakes, ponds, and sloughs; a great variety and abundance of wildlife and the best fishing waters in Cook County.


There are 78 miles trail throughout the Palos and Sag Valley – 64 miles of unpaved/multi-use and 14 miles of paved. There are many trailheads and parking lots throughout the system where you can hop on and off the trail. You can enter the trail system from any picnic grove in the area, and all of those groves have parking available.


This area is also home to our single-track trail, which is maintained in partnership with the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers Association (CAMBr). Their website contains daily updates on the trail condition of the single-track trail.


Click here to view the Palos Trail map.

Click here to view the Sag Valley Trail map.

Poplar Creek Trail

Poplar Creek Trail

The main preserve entrance, on Sutton Road south of Shoe Factory Road, is marked with a sign announcing Carl Hansen Woods. Find trail information here, along with an expansive view of actively managed prairie areas to the west. The meandering parking lot leads to several picnic areas, a large picnic shelter, sloping mowed hills and access to both paved and unpaved trails.


An 8.9-mile paved trail loops around the entire eastern portion of the preserve, from Sutton Road in the west to Barrington Road in the east. This well-marked multi-use trail allows for easy biking, rollerblading or jogging through wooded and open grassland settings.


Unpaved trails, mostly in the western portion of the preserve, offer shorter but more secluded hikes through prairies and woodlands, with opportunities for spotting prairie plants and birds. Most of these trailheads originate at the main parking lot.


Parking lots throughout the preserve offer access to hiking, biking and cross-country skiing trails. An equestrian parking area at the preserve’s southwest corner connects directly to an 11-mile network of unpaved trails beginning in Schaumburg Road Grasslands, an area of hundreds of acres being restored to prairie and oak-hickory woodlands. Bode Lake, to the southeast, is managed for hook-and-line fishing and is a popular place for fishing and picnicking along the shore. To the northeast, the grove by Barrington Road Pond is a popular picnic spot, and just around the corner families can watch members of the Academy of Model Aeronautics fly their model airplanes.


Click here to view the Poplar Creek Trail System map.


Salt Creek Bicycle Trail

Salt Creek Bicycle Trail


The Salt Creek Trail is a class I bicycle trail located in west central Cook County, Illinois. The trail starts in Bemis Woods South and continues east 6.6 miles to Brookfield Woods, directly across from the Brookfield Zoo.


The trail winds through the wooded Forest Preserves as it follows Salt Creek, providing access to various picnic groves and other points of interest. This trail offers bicycle riders a scenic and relaxing route to the Brookfield Zoo.


The Salt Creek Trail follows the banks of Salt Creek, offering bicycle riders a variety of ways to enjoy the Forest Preserve. Pack your bicycle and a picnic lunch in your car and drive to Bemis Woods South. Then park your car and pedal your way east to Brezina Woods for a quiet picnic. You may want to get an earlier start and ride to the Brookfield Zoo for a full afternoon of enjoyment. If you’re looking for some exercise, determine a specific course and ride it regularly. Whether it’s for exercise or relaxation, plan a time now to get out and enjoy beautiful Cook County.



Click here to view the Salt Creek Trail map.

Thorn Creek Bicycle Trail

Thorn Creek Bicycle Trail

The Thorn Creek Trail is a Class I bicycle trail located in southern Cook County, Illinois. One section of the trail consists of 4.7 miles in Sauk Trail Lake area and another winds through Lansing Woods and North Creek Meadow for 4.6 miles. A future extension of the trail will link these two sections bringing the overall trail length to 17.5 miles.


For those driving to the area, ample parking is available near the trail in both Lansing Woods and Sauk Trail Woods.


Click here to view the Thorn Creek Trail map.

Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail

Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail

The Tinley Creek Trail is a Class I Bicycle Trail located in southwestern Cook County, Illinois. It is currently 13.37 miles long. For those driving to the northern portions of the trail, Yankee Woods and Midlothian Reservoir provide parking and access to 9.77 miles of the trail, including a 3.17 mile loop around the George W. Dunne National Golf Course. For those driving to the southern portion of the trail, parking and access to a 3.6 mile loop is available off both Vollmer and Flossmoor Roads.


This 13.37 mile trail is part of a proposed bicycle trail system which will ultimately extend over 33 miles, linking northern and southern trail sections.


The Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail offers bicyclists a relaxing ride through gently rolling country. A leisurely ride through the area will take you through forests, prairies and alongside wetlands. With picnic groves, wells and toilet facilities available along the trail route, you can plan an outing, be it only an hour long or all day.


Click here to view the Tinley Creek Trail map.

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