The Chainlink

Suggestions for Best/Safest/Easiest Route From Lake Front to North Branch Trail?

Hello! As the title indicates, I'm hoping for suggestions to ride safely from the Lake Front path to the North Branch Trail for casual weekend rides. This is for fun - not for commuting - so I don't need fast and direct!

I've done it before, but was not happy with my path (I don't recall which streets I used - it's been a while!); I've also taken Elston north from Webster, as well as taken the El to a nearby stop. None of these really appeal to me, and so I end up not using the North Branch Trail nearly as much as I'd like. I especially like using it to make a kind of loop - take the North Branch Trail to the Botanic Gardens, then back to the city along the Green Bay Trail and lake.

I've got a couple of ideas from scanning Google Maps, but I'd appreciate any real-life experience that can be shared. If this has been discussed before and I missed it, my apologies!

Thank you in advance!

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Ken's got a point. Elston is perfectly utilitarian and much of it is speedy. If that's what you want, it can be ideal. I know plenty of folks who appreciate it for those reasons. When I choose to ride it, those are the qualities I'm seeking in a bike route. If you're looking for pleasure and beauty, there are more suitable options elsewhere.

Tominator said:

What's wrong with Elston? It's my daily commute so I don't ride it for pleasure but... It's pretty safe IMHO.


Good points. Elston is an efficient route if not your ideal prom date of a ride. If you spent all day out in the burbs, perhaps pedaled up to the Botanic Garden, and now want to just get home as efficiently as possible, Elston may not be a bad option for the more businesslike return. 


Anne Alt said:

Ken's got a point. Elston is perfectly utilitarian and much of it is speedy. If that's what you want, it can be ideal. I know plenty of folks who appreciate it for those reasons. When I choose to ride it, those are the qualities I'm seeking in a bike route. If you're looking for pleasure and beauty, there are more suitable options elsewhere.

Tominator said:

What's wrong with Elston? It's my daily commute so I don't ride it for pleasure but... It's pretty safe IMHO.

Hey Ken, North Branch to & beyond Botanic Gardens is my go to bike trail, usually doing it few times a week for fun..tried lotsa routes to get to NB from Lake Front (Clark & Lincoln)...Don't think there's a single route that's best, safest,easiest and scenic... have tried many, like going north on Lake Front (great off hours but too congested), or Clark St or Lincoln to Lawrence then west to pick up the North Shore Channel Trail (at Francisco Ave) either up to Devon to North Branch, or to Bryn Mawr then west to Sauganash Trail (just east of Kostner) to Devon...maybe this is what you're looking for...for me I take Webster to Elston...it's commercial/industrial, but is fastest, safest and most direct so it's best for me... cheers

Ken, what's your start point?  Webster and the lakefront?

Ryan - I live in Lincoln Park; I usually ride up the lake  to Wilmette, or Glencoe, Or Highland Park, and back. It's a beautiful ride, but again, I want to find an easy and pleasant way to get from the lake (somewhere on the north side) to the North Branch Trail. The various routes suggested that start with Bryn Mawr look like they will work. I'm still open to, and welcome, any other suggestions! Thanks!



Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

Ken, what's your start point?  Webster and the lakefront?

Brandon - thank you! I'll look at the Sauganash Trail suggestion!

Brandon Walsh said:

Hey Ken, North Branch to & beyond Botanic Gardens is my go to bike trail, usually doing it few times a week for fun..tried lotsa routes to get to NB from Lake Front (Clark & Lincoln)...Don't think there's a single route that's best, safest,easiest and scenic... have tried many, like going north on Lake Front (great off hours but too congested), or Clark St or Lincoln to Lawrence then west to pick up the North Shore Channel Trail (at Francisco Ave) either up to Devon to North Branch, or to Bryn Mawr then west to Sauganash Trail (just east of Kostner) to Devon...maybe this is what you're looking for...for me I take Webster to Elston...it's commercial/industrial, but is fastest, safest and most direct so it's best for me... cheers

Ryan,

I do this route almost every Sunday am.  So I can only speak to the traffic at that hour. My route is Lawrence to Elston to Central to Devon to the trail. I then cut through botanic gardens...go East on Lake Cook to Green Bay, Green Bay to Highwood and back to  Chicago on Sheridan.  At 7-8 on Sundays Lawrence is pretty empty going west as is elston.  I like this route as it is a good mixture of city, park and open riding.

J

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