I am fortunate to live near the Illinois Prairie Path of the Du Page County Trail. I have enjoyed using the Illinois Prairie Path for hiking, biking and running. The Du Page County Trail is a 92 mile recreational trail system managed by the Du Page County of Illinois Division of Transportation. The Illinois Prairie Path is located in the right of way of the former Chicago, Elgin, and Aurora railway. The Illinois Prairie Path extends through Du Page County and eastward to the Forest Park CTA station in neighboring Cook County. The path also extends westward into Kane County connecting to the Fox River Trail.
As the weather is warming up in the spring, you will start to see more people out and about on the Illinois Prairie Path. I first discovered the Illinois Prairie five years ago shortly after our family had moved to Du Page County from Chicago. I was recovering from knee surgery and my physical therapist recommended bike riding. I dusted off my bike and headed onto the Illinois Prairie Path. The path provides a scenic route through wooded areas and various water paths and lets you get close to nature. My daughter, now in second grade enjoys riding her bike along the connecting paths in our neighborhood. She can not wait until she is “big” enough to ride into the wooded areas and truly get going along the Illinois Prairie Path.
This past fall I completed the Chicago Marathon and found the Illinois Prairie Path to be an excellent trail to use for my training runs. Most of the trail in the wooded areas consists of a limestone screening with paths that are approximately 10 feet wide. This serves as an excellent running surface which is easy on the feet and the knees. Thanks to path width there is plenty of room for fellow runners, bikers, walkers, and even the occasional horseback riders. The trails are always kept in good condition. I have also always found my fellow path users to be very courteous. I recommend printing a map of the system from the Du Page County Illinois website. This will help make sure you know where you are going as there are many connecting trails and the paths can be a little confusing when you come out of the secluded areas especially near roadways.
There are various spots along the Illinois Prairie Path with nearby parking, so you do not have to live in walking distance of the trail to make use of it. The Du Page County trails are a great resource for any casual walker, serious runner or cyclist.
Some of the Information for this article was obtained from the Du Page County Illinois website.