8 Beautiful Bike Rides in Chicago and the Suburbs

Feel the wind in your face with these great biking trails.

By mid-January you were ready to turn your kids loose on a bike – whether it was in the basement or your apartment hallway – just to get the energy out. Thanks to Mother Nature, the weather is finally a little nicer to let everyone escape the walls of the house.

Whether your kid is an expert on a mountain bike or still riding the Radio Flyer three-wheeler, there are great trails in and around Chicago to take in the smells of spring and the sights of the city.

Morton Arboretum

  • Address: 4100 Ill. 53, Lisle
  • Best for: All ages
  • Cost: Free with admission; $18-$65 bike rental (temporarily unavailable).

A great place to ease through a few trails and spy on nature is in Lisle, where Morton Arboretum lets flowers, trees, birds and nature shine. If you prefer to pack light for the trip to the Western Suburbs, bike rentals are available beginning in late April.

The 606

Connecting six neighborhood parks, The 606 is the perfect trail for beginners or a family looking for long distances. You can stop at any of the parks, and learn something from the educational programming, check out the art installations or just explore Chicago.

Lakefront Trail

  • Where: Lincoln Park to Jackson Park, Chicago
  • Best for: Early elementary and older
  • Cost: Free

For a perfect ride on a perfect spring day, see the Chicago skyline from Lakefront Trail. The separation that was finished in 2018 allows for more space for both bikers and runners, and lets even novice bikers enjoy the busy trail.

Chicago Botanic Garden

  • Address: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
  • Best for: All ages
  • Cost: Free with admission; $2.50 per half hour or $60 season pass bike rental (Temporarily unavailable).

Bikes are encouraged around the outer trail of the garden, through the prairies and past the aquatic garden. Watch for summer dates when the garden opens paths usually closed to bicycles and holds festivities for two-wheeled enthusiasts. Note: The trail is open during Garden operating hours.

The Cal-Sag Trail

  • Where: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve to Burnham Prairie Nature Reserve
  • Best for: Late elementary and older
  • Cost: Free

At 26 miles from start to finish, bikers can add to their mileage by stopping at any of the five public trails along the route. As the trail winds through communities in the South Suburbs, this is best traversed with experienced bikers who pass a road rules test.

Old Plank Road Trail

  • Where: Park Road (Joliet Township) to Western Avenue (Park Forest)
  • Best for: Late elementary and older
  • Cost: Free

Traversing 22 miles through seven communities, the trail runs parallel to Route 30 through the far South Suburbs. For families who want to travel even farther, a new addition allows bikers to connect to the Thorn Creek Trail system, adding Chicago Heights and its trails to the mileage.

Fox River Trail

  • Where: Algonquin to Oswego
  • Best for: Early elementary and older at parks, middle school and older for entire trail
  • Cost: Free

To go from top to bottom is more than 44 miles of former railroad trails that follow along the Fox River. The beauty of the area is unmatched, as families can travel through towns in Kane and Kendall counties, stopping where they choose along the way at libraries, farmers markets and even for lunch.

Meacham Grove Forest Preserve

The 2 1/2 miles of trail welcomes bikers and hikers. Bring a picnic to eat or a fishing pole to fish at Maple Lake (16 and older must have a fishing license).


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