North Branch Bike Trail

This bicycle trail is perfect for beginners or those who are looking to get in shape. The North Branch Chicago River serves as the course, and it winds through northeastern Cook County for 22 miles.

From the southern trailhead at Gompers Park, it is a short drive or hike to Harms Woods, where you can enjoy one of many scenic overlooks along this portion of Forest Preserve Trail. The preserve continues west through Westfield Old Orchard before arriving in Skokie near Illinois Route 120 (Irving Park Road). The hike is beautiful and diverse, with more than 200 bird species recorded. North of Skokie proper, the trail takes you by one of our favorite lakes in Illinois -the Lakeside Lagoon- before reaching Chicago Botanic Garden at Glencoe. Traveling on the old trackbed of Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, you can get to Green Bay.

The North Branch Trail System is a premier biking route in the northern suburbs. Connecting Chicago to its sister city of Glencoe, this system includes paved and unpaved trails that meander approximately 20 miles with ecological restoration sites hosting diverse native wildlife like raptors or eagles.

Along the path, trail users will find themselves passing through lush forests where they can enjoy quiet surroundings andSee many generations of wildlife living safely away from humans. The forest is a quiet place, where the sounds of city life fade away. This isn’t just because it’s located within one – but also due to how generations ago humans and animals lived together in harmony for centuries before things changed drastically with development along paths nearby only a few decades ago.

The deer who frequent this trail has no fear of humans and will stop to examine anything that moves on their way. It is not uncommon for them to walk right next door into an equestrian facility, where you can find many people riding horses or jumping fences with no concerns at all.

Parking and access to the trail are available in many different locations, including Harms Woods for Skokie residents at Tower Road boat launch. The path is also near Morton Grove station on Metra’s Milwaukee District/North line towards the southern end of the route if you’re visiting from outlying areas like Palatine Illinois or Lincoln Park south county burbs.

The hike to the Skokie Lagoons is an excellent way of experiencing this locally famous conservation effort performed during the Depression era. A plaque commemorating Civilian Conservation Corps work can be found just east from where Tower Road splits, near Edens Expressway and Willow Rd. The trail leads you through the forested area with views onto Lake Michigan. 

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