Elgin Area will continue to monitor and provide updates related to COVID-19 across our social channels and our website. Learn More

Visit Elgin, Illinois

Discover things to do on an Elgin, Illinois, getaway

Raceway Woods


Photo Credit: Philip Aleo

Do you want to enjoy the great outdoors? Have you been looking to go on a hike but are not sure where to go? You should visit Raceway Woods! It is located at the intersection of Illinois Route 31 and Huntley Road. Its hiking trail is 3.27 miles long and has become a popular site for locals and visitors to spend their days in nature. When you walk throughout the woods, be sure to notice the concrete path you may be walking on. This path used to be a famous racetrack where racing icons from all over the world would compete.

racway 1

I am personally biased to the racetrack because my great-grandfather, Leonard W. Besinger Sr. (pictured in the race car above) created this racetrack, Meadowdale Raceways. He wanted to help make Chicago the center of world racing, so he set out to create the track. By the time of its completion, the racetrack was a 3.27 mile course that had two turns, one at the end of each 4,000 foot straightaway, which was the longest in the world at that time. The racetrack attracted thousands of spectators, whether they were car fanatics or families looking to have an exciting day. Those who competed in the races travelled from around the world to experience the racing spectacle that occurred in the Midwest.



Meadowdale Raceways lived for only twelve years, from September of 1958 to September of 1970. I believe it is important to know what you are walking on when you go hiking through Raceway Woods. It is more than just a trail. It was a racing challenge for famous drivers and a popular location to watch car racing. The Dundee Township Park District and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County does a great job at preserving the area by acknowledging the importance of the race track. The woods you walk through housed a historical landmark so when you go hiking in Raceway Woods, picture cars zooming on the asphalt pavement that you walk on and imagine spectators cheering for their favorite racer.

RW before and after 1 RW before and after 2

Photo Credit: Philip Aleo

I want to give a huge thank you to Philip Aleo for giving me the photographs of Raceway. He created a book about Meadowdale Raceway that you should check out! Be sure to look at his website to learn more about Philip and to see the other pieces that he has made.

RW before and after 4

RW before and after 3


About the Author: Claire

photo (1)I find excitement in scrolling through Facebook and Twitter timelines, creating hashtags on Instagram and pinning everything from recipes to movie quotes on Pinterest. I Snapchat more than I text and I watch YouTube videos for fun. I value a gluten-free pizza and a big iced coffee. When I am not in the office I enjoy spending time with family and friends at venues around the Fox River Valley area, as well as, attempting to go on long runs throughout town. My current goal in life is to go on a road trip across the United States visiting random and unusual tourist attractions and I find conspiracy theories and urban legends fascinating.

©2020 Elgin Area CVB. All rights reserved.
This site uses cookies to record statistics and improve user experience.View Policy