Fox River Trails

Discover Outdoor Adventures

The Fox River Trails offer more than 40 miles of fun on land and water. They run beside the scenic Fox River in Northern Kane County in Illinois, alongside historic railroad lines, crossing six bridges and passing through nature preserves and charming towns. Visitors inclined to float can find plenty of places to put in their kayak or canoe.

River Trail
On Water

Buffalo Park Forest Preserve is a gorgeous spot to start a kayak or canoe trip. You will need to port around the Carpentersville dam and then paddle through West Dundee on your way to Voyageur Landing Forest Preserve just north of downtown Elgin. The seven-mile trek is perfect for beginners and intermediate paddles. A favorite for our Explore Elgin Area team is putting in at Trout Park, 576 Trout Park Boulevard, and getting out just north of Gail Borden Public Library at Elgin’s Veteran Memorial Park, 274 N. Grove Avenue. If you don’t want to travel so far, you can stop at McNamee Park, Downtown West Dundee or South End Park, all of which have boat launches and can be the perfect place to stop for a break.

If you can’t bring your watercraft, rent one for the day. Kayak Myak Rentals will get you geared up for an adventure on the water. You can even join the group tours they offer. 

There is also first-rate fishing along the Fox River, with many public spots to fish for bass, catfish, and walleye. Voyageur Landing, Kimball Street Dam, and South Elgin Dam are all spots where locals can be found fishing throughout the year.

River Trail
On Land

The multi-use trails offer the perfect outing for spirited cyclists, hiking enthusiasts, families and outdoor aficionados. Most of the trail surface is paved asphalt or crushed stone. No weather is too extreme to take advantage of the paths. If your bike does not have snow tires, break out the snowshoes or cross-country skis in the winter months.

If you are visiting without your bike, find outfitters ready to rent you a ride. Main Street Bicycles offers bike rentals, while Village Peddler in South Elgin and Elgin Community Bikes in downtown Elgin offer maintenance. En route, refuel at one of the many adjacent restaurants or pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the area’s many picnic spots. No matter what brings you to the trails, enjoy the ride!

The Elgin Area is 45 minutes northwest of Chicago. The easiest spots to access the Fox River Trails for cycling are the East Dundee Depot, 319 N. River Street, Panton Mill Park at 10 N. Water Street in South Elgin or Festival Park, 132 S. Grove Avenue. All locations offer free parking and nearby dining options.

Visitors from Chicago can bring their bikes on Metra’s Milwaukee District West Line and get off at the National Street or Elgin exits, both just a block from the trails.

Other Stops
Along the Way

The Fox River Trails pass through many forest preserves and by popular attractions, offering weary cyclists and paddlers the perfect excuse to take a break. Here are a few enjoyed by visitors and residents alike:

Fox River Shores Forest Preserve – Carpentersville
Located along the river in Carpentersville, Fox River Shores is home to some unusually 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.

Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve – South Elgin
Locals flock to this preserve to see the “hidden” waterfall. A large wood-carved statue of Black Hawk, a Sauk leader and namesake for the Black Hawk War of 1832, is situated at the preserve’s entrance. This is also the historical memorial site of unknown soldiers of General Scott’s Army.

Gail Borden Public Library – Elgin
This is the perfect spot for families to stop for a break while exploring the Fox River Bike Trail. Grab some water, cool off and enjoy a donut or iced coffee from Roll-N-Donuts. Gail Borden Public Library is the third largest library building in Illinois and a community center for the region. You will not want to miss their summer exhibits that have brought people from all over the country to see.

Grand Victoria Casino – Elgin
Adults exploring the Fox River Trails can stop for gourmet food, an adult beverage or even a chance at lady luck. Grand Victoria Casino is located right off the trail and houses three restaurants with options including a steakhouse, pizzeria, and deli.

Self-Guided Public Art Tour
With most of the public artwork located on or along the Fox River Trails this makes downtown Elgin the perfect place to park your bike and slowly stroll the vibe. Maps can be picked up at the Explore Elgin Area visitor center or by visiting our website.

If you visit during the summer and fall months you will find events happening along the trail from Carpentersville all the way south to South Elgin.

Some downtown Elgin events include:
Elgin Pride Parade & Festival, Downtown Elgin Market, Juneteenth Cultural Festival, Movies in the Park, Love on the Lawn, La Fiesta de Elgin

South Elgin events include:
Back to School Bash, Pumpkin Patch Festivities, Concerts at Panton Mill Park

West Dundee events include:
Heritage Fest, West Dundee River Challenge, Dickens in Dundee

East Dundee events include:
Fireworks on the River, Monthly Wine Down Wednesday and Motor Monday Cruise Night evenings, and Oktoberfest

Carpentersville events include:
Happy Birthday American Car Show, Rock the Fox, Fall Fest and Fiestapalooza

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Visitors Guide

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