The Chainlink

Hey everybody. On 4th of July weekend I rode from Pilsen to Westmont. The metra blackout and wonderful weather inspired me.

 

I took 26th st for about half the journey and then got a little confused. I thought I was going to run into Salt Creek Trail when 26th st ended, but didn't see the entrance. So, I rode on Roosevelt for less than a mile, which was extremely dangerous at that point (pretty much a highway) and I wish I hadn't. Got off at York road and then found the trail. The trail was confusing too, since there's basically no signage. It rides through corporate McDonalds HQ and Hamburger University. Which was interesting. The woods the trail runs through are great though, and there's a lot of picnicking areas.

 

I did have a Chicagoland Bike Map which helped me a great deal. 

 

I was wondering if anyone has done a similar commute and can recommend an alternate route. I would like to do it again at some point but definitely don't want to wind up on Roosevelt again.

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I think your plan was good, you just have to be very observant where the trail picks up at 26th st.  There's not much of a visible entrance there, it's just kind of a side path that's easy to miss.

 

The alternative is to take Des Plaines or 1st south to 31st st. and pick up the trail where it starts.  31st st. is pretty bike-unfriendly right there (ironic, isn't it), but you can't miss the park entrance and the start of the trail. 

 

Glancing at Google maps, to get to Westmont you'd either go south at York or west at Oak Brook, which takes you off the Salt Creek Trail and into areas I don't know much about.  But the signage of the trail is very clear between the start in Brookfield and York Ave. even though as you've seen, the signage gets much more confusing between York and Roosevelt (and then non-existent when you navigate past the evil, evil yuppie scum on Rex and Sunnyside in Elmhurst).

 

Thanks David!

 

Now that I look at google maps closer, I see that the trail basically starts at 26th St and 9th Ave. I had looked at the google route, and was a bit overwhelmed with all of the steps. I wrote down a simplified direction, packed my map and hoped for the best. 


I'm pretty eager to try it again!

 

 

That trail is awesome. You will like it. Have Fun! :) 

 

Here is a trail map. Salt Creek Trail Map

 

 

My secret to never getting lost while getting or staying on a trail is the Google maps on my cheap android phone (t-mobile huawei comet), which I bought for $100 on ebay.  I got 5 batteries so I don't worry about my phone dying. A lot of bike directions are beta, but for the most part it gives me a lot of confidence to have that gps capability without investing in a fancy toy, such as a garmin.


I recommend a mount for your handlebars as well. You can get an Arkon mount for about $20 on Amazon.

 

As for the Salt Creek trail, it's nice, but very chopped up. So I understand the issue about getting lost. There are several half mile stretches where you have to get on the streets and the directions and signs are OK at best.

 

Good luck!

That area around The Lodge is part of the Oak Brook trail system. Next time you take 26th, cut into the parking lot of the CCFPD, that will get you to the Salt Creek Trail. If you cross 17th ave heading west, that will take you all the way to York.If you go in the other direction (east) it will take you to 31st by the zoo, the starting point of the trail. At York, if you head south, that will take you to the Graue Mill, the York Tap is there as well. If you head north, you can do a 4 mile loop, York to Cermak, south on Jorie Blvd, east on 31st and back south to York. This is the Oak Brook trail section AND keep in mind most of this is limestone and wash your bicycle after riding through that crap. If you head further north on York, that hooks up to the Prarie Path which is all crushed limestone as well. There are good maps on the CCFPD web site.

Thanks, just checked those out. They could work but not without going out of the way. Run a bit North of where Westmont is.  


M.A.R.K. said:

Westmont.. How bout the IPP and Great Western trails?

Where is the parking lot? I looked online and Cook County Forrest Preserve District HQ is in Riverforst, IL. Which doesn't intersect with 26th. Unless you're speaking of a different place. 


Jorie! I was on that road. That's when I thought I was going to abandon the trail and looped back around, sheesh. Maybe I'll try again Sunday. And give my bike a bath.


Bernard Joseph Hannigan said:

That area around The Lodge is part of the Oak Brook trail system. Next time you take 26th, cut into the parking lot of the CCFPD, that will get you to the Salt Creek Trail. If you cross 17th ave heading west, that will take you all the way to York.If you go in the other direction (east) it will take you to 31st by the zoo, the starting point of the trail. At York, if you head south, that will take you to the Graue Mill, the York Tap is there as well. If you head north, you can do a 4 mile loop, York to Cermak, south on Jorie Blvd, east on 31st and back south to York. This is the Oak Brook trail section AND keep in mind most of this is limestone and wash your bicycle after riding through that crap. If you head further north on York, that hooks up to the Prarie Path which is all crushed limestone as well. There are good maps on the CCFPD web site.
Yeah, I just am trying to abstain from owning a smart phone for as long as possible. The maps is one of the functions I would love the most. I do have an iPod touch which comes in handy sometimes. 

MagMileMarauder said:

My secret to never getting lost while getting or staying on a trail is the Google maps on my cheap android phone (t-mobile huawei comet), which I bought for $100 on ebay.  I got 5 batteries so I don't worry about my phone dying. A lot of bike directions are beta, but for the most part it gives me a lot of confidence to have that gps capability without investing in a fancy toy, such as a garmin.


I recommend a mount for your handlebars as well. You can get an Arkon mount for about $20 on Amazon.

 

As for the Salt Creek trail, it's nice, but very chopped up. So I understand the issue about getting lost. There are several half mile stretches where you have to get on the streets and the directions and signs are OK at best.

 

Good luck!

The lot is about 1/2 mile west of 1st avenue. It is a service lot for trucks, cop cars etc. 26th street curves to the north at that point, you can't miss it. Cut right through the lot, they are cool with bicycle traffic and you will see the path on your left. Each stretch of the trail is about 1.25 miles. It is about 7.2 miles to York from the 31st st entrance.

To get to Westmont, head south on York to Chicago ave. in Hinsdale which is by the Burlington tracks. Chicago Ave. will take you right into downtown Westmont with minimal auto traffic.

I love the Salt Creek this is my main trail, I try to ride it daily.

Thanks Bernard, is York a pretty bike friendly road?
York is very bike friendly as is Chicago Ave....Very nice 100 year old victorian homes to check out, a few potholes just south of Odgen at the curve is your only concern. You will love this ride....Almost forgot, York turns into The Lane and then Garfield Street at the curve, just follow the curve and hang a left at the stop sign after the curve
Nice! I will try this soon

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