Des Plains River Trail: State Line to Gurnee

EASY 5 reviews

Des Plains River Trail: State Line to Gurnee is a 9.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Wadsworth, IL that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

9.7 miles 179 feet Point to Point

dog friendly

kid friendly





mountain biking

nature trips

road biking


trail running


cross country skiing

horseback riding




wild flowers




Sedge Meadow is a living laboratory designed to provide scientists the research opportunities to study the function of wetlands. A 2 mile loop connects with the Des Plaines River Trail. Today, the river, once obscured by weedy overgrowth, is visible through a rehabilitated oak grove. The prairies and meadows have been restored, and the wetlands are again functioning to provide flood control, wildlife habitat and to improve water quality in the river. Easy, fun, stress free ride along the Des Plaines River with options from beginner to expert. Unlike typicall arrow straight rails-to-trails projects, this improved trail offers quiet and fun riding as it meanders lazily to and fro following the Des Plaines River. The Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway traverses Lake County, Illinois, North to South, over 31 miles as it winds it's way along the Des Plaines River connecting preserves, local parks, and communities. Following the river's edge, the trails uses bridges and underpasses, making it possible to travel with out crossing any major roads. Except for one small section between West Riverside Drive in Lincolnshire and just north of Estonian Lane, the trail travels over crushed limestone from the Wisconsin-Illinois state line in the north to the Lake-Cook County line in the south where it connects to the Cook County Forest Preserve Trails. With access to parking via the many parks and preserves it travels through, or the many spurs to parking lots off major roads and it's almost flat elevation profile, this is an ideal outing for families with young or inexperienced riders who should be sheltered from road traffic. The numerous access opportunities allow for ride lengths for all levels of experience. Over 60m miles of riding, all in Lake County, are possible by doing an out-n-back ride from either the north or south terminus.

2 months ago

Great early morning hike. I left the parking lot of the Travel America and had a great 5-6 mile hike doing the blue loop. Deer, rabbits and walkers with dogs. Very easy, well marked packed gravel, car width path for the part I did. Thanks for setting this aside in the 60s. A much needed break for me!!

3 months ago

Beautiful scenery but not very challenging. There is little to no elevation change. The paths are wide and well groomed. Great for seeing wetlands wildlife or for doing an easy hike.

1 year ago

beautiful but just too many bikers ruined it for me. maybe you have to go early super early morning

trail running
3 years ago

I agree with Mike, this trail is worth checking out. Runners- it is good to know there are facilities relatively often so if Mother Nature calls you know you are never far from a porta-pot. Well maintained urban multiuse trail. Nothing spectacular , but an easy place to get out and move.

trail running
4 years ago

This s one of the best trails near Gurnee, IL Accessable by the highway on the IL/WI border. Multi use trail of crushed gravel. It must extend at least 25 miles along the DesPlains River. I did a 6 mile out and back from the trailhead's north end through amazing woodland , wetland and prairie paths starting in Van Patten Woods. Much of the trail is covered in a canopy of old oak trees. the river, ponds and boggs provide fuel for the eyes, plenty of wildlife sounds along the way. Parking and bathrooms available at several points. For being so close to town, you feel like you are in the middle of the wilderness. Let the kids spend the day at Six Flags Theme Park just 3 miles south and treat yourself to an easy hike or a long trail run!