Chicago doesn’t immediately make you think of mountain biking, but because it’s so close to states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, there are some great trails throughout the surrounding suburbs.
1. South Kettle Moraine John Muir Green Loop
South Kettle Moraine is a popular recreation area just two hours away from Chicago. The John Muir Green Loop is a moderately challenging 7 mile trail that features beautiful wildflowers and amazing wildlife. The trail is accessible all year round with camping space available in the recreation area!
2. Cap Sauers and Swallow Cliff Loop at Palos
Located in Cook County, Palos features tons of trails with rolling hills through forested area. These trails provide fun and challenging rides for a variety of levels of experience, however, it can be easy to get lost so definitely bring a map.
3. Des Plaines River Trail
This 26 mile out and back trail takes about 2 hours to complete and is great for all skill levels. This wide, mostly unpaved trail features an elevation gain of 757 feet and although it floods sometimes under the bridges, it is still shallow enough for riders to pass through.
4. Saw Wee Kee Trail
This 5.2 mile trail is located near Yorkville, Illinois and is ranked as one of the more difficult trails on this list. It provides tons of rolling hills with twists and turns mixed in making it a fun but challenging course for hiking or even trail running and mountain biking.
5. Rock Cut State Park
Located near Loves Park, this 10-mile loop offers some good technical challenges with parts of flowy singletrack.