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Best Bike Trails In The Chicago Area

bike lane on road

Ready to explore Chicago and the surrounding area by bike? There’s plenty of trails to keep you riding – whether you are an urban commuter, mountain biker, road warrior, or recreational cyclist. Keep reading to learn the top 3 trails our staffers love and recommend near Chicago!

Ride Spot App — Find Local Rides!

Below are some of our favorite trails around Chicago – but first we want to introduce you to Ride Spot. Ride Spot is an App from People For Bikes that you can download for FREE on your phone that features easy-to-follow local routes with on-screen navigation and/or audible turn-by-turn directions. It’s a great resource to find fun rides in your area, connect with other riders, and even begin logging your favorite rides to share with friends.

We have curated routes from our staff on Ride Spot made for all different ride levels. Simply search for and follow “ERIK’S – Chicago” to see our local shop-created rides.

Here’s our top 3 trails to ride near Chicago, Illinois…

North Branch Trail 

Enjoy 20 miles of both paved and unpaved trails riding the North Branch Trail System which runs along the North Branch of the Chicago River. It connects Chicago to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and offers cyclists an abundance of scenery as they explore by bike the northern suburbs.

Learn more about the North Branch Trail here.

The Des Plaines River Trail

The Des Plaines River Trail is a 31.4 mile long gravel trail that travels through 12 forest preserves in Lake County. It offers ample wildlife and natural habitat scenery to enjoy as you ride plus plenty of trail access points and parking so you can begin your journey at a convenient location for you.

Learn more about the Des Plaines River Trail here.

Skokie Valley Trail

The Skokie Valley Trail offers over 9 miles of asphalt trail that connects Highland Park in the South to Lake Bluff in the North. This smooth and level ride is great for road cyclists who want to clip along at a faster pace. Just be sure to keep a lookout for rabbit, hawk, and deer crossings along the way!

Learn more about the Skokie Valley Trail here.

Let’s go ride!

For more ride ideas in the area — don’t forget to download the app Ride Spot and search for and follow “ERIK’S Bike Shop – Chicago” to see our rides created by store staff. And when you’re ready to get out there exploring, swing by one of our shops — Deerfield or Skokie first. We’ll get you set up with everything you need for a safe, comfortable, and fun ride (tag us on your adventures using #EriksBikeBoardSki)!