(both pics above are Gander Mt. Forest Preserve from my runs)
The purpose of this page do two things:1. Identify, chronicle, and document single track trails that are located in the greater N. IL area-not for Mt. biking, but RUNNING.
2. Document runs, share experiences, and hopefully be a resource to like minded trail runners who live or visit the area. I also hope to get more information from others in the area on potential areas to run and enjoy!
My home trail is the Middle Fork Savanna in Lake Forest IL. There is a total of 1/8 of a mile of actual single track in or around this preserve. It does connect through a paved road to another little gem of a trail, then reconnects back to the mother trail, which is crushed limestone. There are a number of other "trails" like this in the area, like the DPRT, Old School Forest Preserve, etc. All are flat, groomed, and fast. My interest is in more hilly, technical, dirt, gnarly trail. The kind you think of when you hike outside of the Mid-West.
I have found a few gems in the area-Gander Mountain Forest Preserve being the primary-AKA-The secret spot. I have done many runs here and have a 5 mile loop that nets several hundred feet of elevation gain and loss on mostly technical single track. Bike are banned from the majority of the single track trails, but they clearly ride them. Sadly, the very steep line on the peak is trashed from bikers riding down the long decline with brakes on. I typically run/power hike up this route, but is it so rutted up, its not going to viable for long with out some maintenance and a change of use.
Buelah Park in Zion is another, but there are many bikers and I do not like taking the risk of a collision.
I am researching a few other sites around Independence Grove, Deer Grove (in Palatine).
Palos is also a favorite, but it is a long drive and is very heavily used.
I have yet to venture into WI much as I really do not care to spend 1/2 hour or more in the car to get a good trail run in! However, destination runs are nice for serious long training runs-Kettle and Lapham peak are both nice for this purpose.
Cut Rock in Rockford is also nice if you are in the area.
So, there you have it, a first post, a reveal of my best and most cherished running spot (Gander), and an open invite to anyone who cares to share!