The Fox River Bike Trail offers more than 40 miles of guaranteed fun. It runs beside the scenic Fox River in Northern Illinois alongside historic railroad lines, crossing six bridges, and passing through nature preserves and charming towns.
The trail is the perfect outing for spirited cyclists, hikers, families and outdoor aficionados. No weather is too extreme to take advantage of the path. If your bike does not have snow tires, break out the snowshoes or cross country skis.
Find food en route at one of the many adjacent restaurants, or pack a lunch and pull over at one of the many picnic spots.
Getting to the Fox River Bike Trail
The Elgin Area is only 45 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago. Once here, the easiest spot to access the Fox River Bike Trail in the Elgin Area is in East Dundee, by The Depot. 319 N. River St., East Dundee, IL 60118. Another great spot to get on the trail is downtown Elgin. Park in one of the free parking garages and head north to visit East Dundee and Carpentersville or head south and explore South Elgin.
Visitors coming from Chicago are able to bring their bikes on the Metra’s Milwaukee District West Line to the National Street or Elgin exit to get off a block from the bike trail. Click here for the train schedule and additional information.
Fishing along the Fox River Bike Trail
There is first-rate fishing along the Fox River, with many public spots to fish for bass, catfish and walleye. And, of course, there are plenty of tackle shops to hook you up with all the right gear.
The Carpentersville Dam is a favorite local fishing hole. The dam has become legendary among anglers for record-breaking walleye and smallmouth bass.
Check out, the I Fish Illinois website for information including licensing, camping, lake details and fishing reports.
Boat or Kayak
Take a break in West Dundee and experience Voyageur’s Landing Forest Preserve. The boat launch here is popular for a reason-this is a gorgeous spot to set out your kayak or boat to paddle, toss a line in, or kick back with a cold one on the deck and watch the eagles like a hawk.
Nature Centers and Forest Preserves
The Fox River Bike trail passes through many forest preserves, offering weary cyclists the perfect excuse to ease off the pedals and soak up the natural beauty of the river. Native flyers you may see include herons, woodpeckers and bald eagles.
The list below is just a taste, explore other forest preserves and attractions along the Fox River Bike Trail.
Fox River Shores forest preserve
Located alongside the river in Carpentersville, Fox River Shores is home to some unusual steep, swampy habitats with rare plants like Vanilla Grass. In spring, the hills surrounding the Fox River blossom with crabapples and plums. Bring your boat to take advantage of the launch or binoculars for an inspection of this natural gem and its inhabitants.
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
At Hawthorne Hill, you will find a community dedicated to nature preservation and education. Activities, exhibits and events supplement the area’s natural state, which, on it’s own, inspires visitors to appreciate nature as it is. With two ponds, acres of woodland, a mile of looped trails, and an interactive nature center, Hawthorne Hill is a great place to relax and discover the outdoors in Elgin. Do not leave anyone in the family out-wide, wood-chipped trails make for easy hikes, and there is even a wheelchair-friendly trail leading to a sedge meadow and pond. Click here to find out more about Hawthorne Hill.
Named after a beatified Mohawk Indian, Tekakwitha Woods is 65-acre forest preserve south of Elgin at the big bend of the Fox River. The preserve features hiking trails and a nature center with interactive exhibits exploring the history of Kane County. Click here to find out more about Tekakwitha Woods.
Places to Recharge
Gail Borden Public Library
Cyclists looking to recharge cell phones or relax their legs can make a stop at Gail Borden Public Library. Stop in to cool off or bring the kids in to experience the interactive summer exhibit, Extreme Deep. Families can make this a destination on the trail or a starting point because kids will have so much fun. Gail Borden Public Library also has a deli in their lobby so trail riders can enjoy sandwiches named after local landmarks. Click here to find out more about Gail Borden Public Library.
Grand Victoria Casino
Adults exploring the Fox River Bike Trail can stop for gourmet food, adult beverage or even a chance at lady luck. Grand Victoria Casino is located right on the Fox River Bike Trail. Grand Victoria Casino houses four restaurants with cuisine ranging from gourmet burgers to a deli to a steakhouse. They offer lots of bike racks for ample parking. Click here to learn more about Grand Victoria Casino.
Van’s Frozen Custard
Families have been making Van’s Frozen Custard in East Dundee a destination to ride their bikes to along the Fox River Bike Trail since 2012. Riding a couple extra miles does not seem so bad when frozen custard is waiting for cyclists when they arrive. Click here to find out more about Van’s Frozen Custard.
As if you need even more incentive to spend time along the Fox River Bike Trail, special summer events are sure to entertain:
- Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss, Exhibit at Gail Borden Library: May – August 13th
- Downtown Elgin Farmers’ Market: June 1st – October 5th
- City of Elgin’s 4th of July Concert & Fireworks: July 4th
- Elgin’s Movies in the Park: July 12th-August 7th
- Elgin’s Art & Soul on the Fox: August 4th & August 5th
- Elgin Fringe Festival:September 7th-September 16th
No matter what brings you to the trail, enjoy the ride!
If you want to explore the trail for multiple days check out the special hotel rates at local accommodations. Click here for additional information.