Bicycling

Three people riding bikes at sunset

Whether you call it bicycling, biking or cycling, the Forest Preserves has a trail for you.

On this page:


Trail Information

Bicycle riders can enjoy more than 150 miles of paved trails and 200 miles of unpaved trails in the Forest Preserves.


mountain bikers on the Palos single track trails
Mountain bikers navigate the Palos single track trails during the annual Palos Meltdown Mountain Bike Festival and Race.

Mountain Biking at Palos

Rolling hills, deep ravines and beautiful views make the Palos Trail System one of the premier places for mountain biking in Illinois.

The Palos Trail System also includes the only designated single track trails in the Forest Preserves. These unpaved trails are narrow and designed for mountain biking, hiking and equestrian use. E-bikes are not allowed on these trails.


E-bikes

Allowing some low-speed, safely operated e-bikes in the Forest Preserves helps make our trails accessible to a larger group of visitors.

E-bike riders have the same responsibilities and restrictions as other bicycle riders. All bicycle and e-bike riders must travel at speeds under 15 miles per hour—or slower in busy areas or where a speed limit is posted.

Please use only official, marked trails. All bicycle riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails.

These e-bikes are allowed on trails where bicycles are allowed (except on single track mountain biking trails):

  • Class 1 e-bikes – Electric bicycles with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2 e-bikes – Electric bicycles with a motor that can propel the bicycle without the rider peddling and stops providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.

These e-bikes and other recreational devices are NOT allowed anywhere:

  • Class 3 e-bikes – Electric bicycles with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and stops providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour.
  • Gas-powered vehicles – Gas-powered bikes or other gas-powered vehicles (ATVs, motorcycles, etc.)
  • Electrically powered recreational devices – Electrically powered scooters, unicycles, hoverboards or similar devices.

Please note: People with mobility limitations are allowed to use personal mobility devices.


Trail Rules & Etiquette

  • Use official, marked trails. Bicycle and horse riders are prohibited from riding off-trail or on unofficial trails. Off-trail and unofficial trail use—even by walkers and runners—damages plant and wildlife habitats.
  • Stay to the right. Ride or walk on the right side of the trail and stay single file whenever possible.
  • Pass safely. Give an audible warning (examples: ring a bike bell or say “on your left”) and slow down before passing others. Pass in single file only. Ask permission to pass equestrians.
  • Yield to other trail users. Bicycle riders must yield to other types of trail users. Walkers and runners must yield to equestrians.
  • Keep your dog on-leash. Most trails allow dogs, but they must be on leash, controlled by their owner and on the right side of the trail.
  • Make sure your ride is allowed. Check our web map to see where you can ride a horse or bike (including class 1 and 2 e-bikes). Not allowed anywhere: Class 3 e-bikes; electrically powered scooters, unicycles and hoverboards; and gas-powered vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles. People with mobility limitations are allowed to use personal mobility devices.
  • Travel at a safe speed. Bicycle and e-bike riders must travel at speeds under 15 miles per hour—or slower in busy areas or where a speed limit is posted.
  • Pay attention to trail signs. Signs tell you which trail users are allowed and alert you to hazards or busy areas ahead.  
  • Keep the trail clear. Do not block trails—move to the side of the trail before stopping.
  • Stay out of the mud. Avoid using wet trails—if you are leaving prints, you are damaging the trail.
  • Protect yourself. Helmets are recommended for all types of bicycle riders, especially for riders 14 and under.
  • Be polite and courteous. Our multi-use trails are for everyone.
  • Remember that trail use involves risk. Please review our Trail Risk Statement.

Nature Center Trails

  • Nature center trails are for walking only. Bicycles, pets, horses and cross-country skiing are not allowed.
  • Nature center trails are open only during posted nature center hours.

Equestrians

  • Walk your horse between the stable and trail.
  • Keep your horse under control—the only permitted gaits are walk, trot or slow canter. Galloping and racing are not permitted.
  • Slow to a walk or slow trot when meeting other trail users.
  • Do not hitch horses to trees or other vegetation.
  • Do not use paved trails.
  • Be humane and kind to your horse.
  • Stallions are not permitted on trails.