Chicago has a geography offering all kinds of terrains. This translates to perfect mountain biking opportunities in Chicago and most notably the suburbs.They have a wide selection of the best locations for the sport in Chicagoland. Here are five of the best places to go.
The Garden

Located in Chicago’s Clark Park, parking is free for this easily accessible metropolitan location. Parking is free for these series of courses which offer something for beginners, intermediates and experts. The expert lane is the largest at this location with two jumps. The pump track has 6 table-top jumps and is suitable for all rider levels.

Dirt tracks, ramps and rugged terrain make this the best Chicago city place for mountain bikers. For those who want to go all out and plan a larger trip, it is totally worth it to head out to the suburbs to enjoy the nature and longer trails.

Waterfall Glen Preserve

This course is situated in west suburban Darien and wraps around the Argonne National Laboratory. The “S” curves at this course are praised. The path itself is crushed limestone and is wide, totaling eight to 10 feet in most places. This area is great for fitness freaks as the area was carved from massive glaciers which create steep inclines and cliff like overhangs.

What else does this preserve boast? As the name suggests, it has a beautiful waterfall. However, most people don’t always pick up on the fact that it is a dam emptying into a ravine. Mountain bikers can see this feature along with some serious foliage on their off-road adventures.

Deer Grove

Deer Grove is in northwest suburban Palatine. The district’s very first forest preserve, it has been around since 1916. Activities are plentiful and range from horseback riding to cross country skiing to, of course mountain biking. The mountain bike path itself is amazing. It’s a multi loop path paved in locations. Nature combines with man-made path in this popular forest preserve. Mountain bikers should take heed to the fact that this popular trail is widely used by leisure bikers, walkers and runners alike.

Palos Forest Preserve

The Palos Forest Preserve in southwest suburban Willow Springs is the biggest track system in Chicagoland. Totaling over 50 miles of off-road track, the system offers a central staging area for mountain bikers. There are several routes to take but this track keeps things easy for riders with many intersections so one can leave one route and switch to another. Many swear by the northern section which stretches from the staging area up to 95th avenue.

Those interested in off and on-road exploring might find the Palos Forest Preserve in Willow Springs a good launching point for southwest suburban discoveries. The paved portion of the system runs through Willow Springs, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Orland Park, Tinley Park and beyond. Serious explorers might launch from Willow Springs and ride through the different communities and staying there for a weekend adventure.

Knoch Knolls Park

Despite the tounge-twister name, Knoch Knolls in west suburban Naperville has a lot to offer. This is a 5.5-mile-long singletrack with very mild to no elevation change. This translates to no uphill battles and no downhill thrills. The ride is simple and fun, even allowing for some views of the river.

Related: Best Community Gardens In Chicago

Robert Mathius is a Chicago suburb native who currently lives in Tinley Park. He has a passion for the automotive industry in addition to journalism and works to blend his two passions in his writing. Additional automotive reporting by Robert can be found on
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