Illinois Prairie Path Main Stem

Chicago, Illinois

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The Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail trails in the nation, runs along the route of the former Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railway, an electric railroad line that carried commuters and freight between Chicago and its western suburbs. Stretching from Wheaton to Maywood, the main stem of the Prairie Path takes you through wooded parks and greenways and offers a taste of a handful of communities that grew up alongside this route. Before heading east on the trail, consider taking the 1.5-mile trip west along the path into downtown Wheaton, where restaurants, bars, and shops line the streets. Along the way you’ll pass Wheaton College, which contains a museum focusing on the school’s most famous alumnus, the evangelist Billy Graham. The trail also passes a large Romanesque-style courthouse built in 1896 that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, topped off by a large clock tower, was recently remodeled and now contains high-priced condos. The west side of Wheaton is where the Prairie Path splits into two main branches; one goes to Aurora, the other to Elgin.

Illinois Prairie Path: Main Stem Professional Review and Guide

"The Illinois Prairie Path, one of the first rail trails in the nation, runs along the route of the former Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railway, an electric railroad line that carried commuters and freight between Chicago and its western suburbs. Stretching from Wheaton to Maywood, the main stem of the Prairie Path takes you through wooded parks and greenways and offers a taste of a handful of communities that grew up alongside this route.

Before heading east on the trail, consider taking the 1.5-mile trip west along the path into downtown Wheaton, where restaurants, bars, and shops line the streets. Along the way you’ll pass Wheaton College, which contains a museum focusing on the school’s most famous alumnus, the evangelist Billy Graham.

The trail also passes a large Romanesque-style courthouse built in 1896 that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The building, topped off by a large clock tower, was recently remodeled and now contains high-priced condos. The west side of Wheaton is where the Prairie Path splits into two main branches; one goes to Aurora, the other to Elgin."

Activity Type: Road Biking
Nearby City: Chicago
Distance: 26.8
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Riding Time: 3 hours
Local Contacts: Hoffman Park
Local Maps: USGS Elmhurst, River Forest, and Wheaton DeLorme: Illinois Atlas and Gazetteer: Pages 28 and 29
Driving Directions: Directions to Illinois Prairie Path: Main Stem

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May 2018