For outdoor enthusiasts, The Fox River Bike Trail offers over 40 miles of guaranteed enjoyment. It runs beside the scenic Fox River in Northern Illinois, along the routes of historic railroad lines, crossing six bridges along the way, and passing through nature preserves and charming towns and villages.
The Trail is the perfect outing for spirited cyclists, hikers, families and outdoor aficionados. No weather is too extreme, and if the snow diminishes your chances of hoping on your bike, the trail offers up a great cross-country skiing opportunity.
Stop along the way at local diners, or pack a lunch and take a break at one of the many picnic spots. Look out for signage along the Trail showing the way to an auxiliary trail that detours through local neighborhoods and along Main Streets.
Getting to the Fox River Bike Trail
The Northern Fox River Valley is only 45 minutes northwest of downtown Chicago. Click here for directions to the area. The easiest spot to access the Fox River Bike Trail in the Northern Fox River Valley is in East Dundee, by The Depot. 319 N. River St., East Dundee, IL 60118.
The Fox River Bike Trail runs from Aurora to Algonquin. Click here to download a pdf of the Fox River Bike Trail map.
If you are starting the trail in Aurora, take Interstate 88 to Aurora, exit on to State Route 31 and drive south to Willis McCullough Park, where the trail starts.
If you plan to start in Algonquin, take State Route 31 toward Algonquin, turn east on State Route 62 then north on North Harrison Street, where you can park in Riverfront Park.
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 you’ll find plenty of tackle shops along the way.
The Carpentersville Dam is a favorite local fishing hole. The Dam has become legendary among anglers for record-breaking walleye and smallmouth bass.
The I Fish Illinois website has detailed information on places to fish along the Fox River and in local lakes, and useful guidelines for anglers on things like how to buy a fishing license, apply for a group fishing permit or reserve a campsite. You can download a Fox River Fishing Guide here.
Boat or kayak on the Fox River
Take a break in West Dundee and experience Voyageur’s Landing Forest Preserve. This large pool in the river has a busy boat launch, and you can sit by the river and watch boats, canoes and kayaks of all shapes, and sizes glide across the water, or launch your own boat.
Nature centers and forest preserves along the Fox River Bike Trail
The Fox River Bike trail passes through many forest preserves, offering weary cyclists the perfect excuse to ease off the pedals, take a break and soak up the natural beauty of the river. If you are lucky you may see herons and woodpeckers and even bald eagles.
Fox River Shores forest preserve
This lovely stretch of the Fox River in Carpentersville is home to some unusual steep, swampy habitats with rare plants. In spring the hills surrounding the Fox River blossom with crabapples and plums. Click here to find out more about Fox River Shores.
Hawthorne Hill Nature Center
With two ponds, acres of woodland, a mile of looped trails, and an interactive nature center, this nature center in Elgin is a great place to relax and discover nature. Enjoy rich fall colors, snow-frosted trees, spring wildflowers, summer amphibians, and an ever changing host of birds. The center has a wheelchair accessible trail that leads to the pond and sedge meadow, as well as wide, wood-chipped trails to access other areas. Finish off with a quick bite at one of the many picnic spots. Click here to find out more about Hawthorne Hill.
Tekakwitha Woods is a 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.
The Kane County Forest Preserve District website has information about more forest preserves and attractions along the Fox River Bike Trail.