Illinois Beach State Park: North Unit Trail

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Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park: North Unit Trail is a 7.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Zion, Illinois that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 7.9 miles Elevation Gain: 65 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly


cross country skiing



nature trips


bird watching






wild flowers




no dogs

The 4,160-acre park, consisting of two separate areas, offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, fishing, camping and just appreciating nature. More than 650 species of plants have been recorded in the dunes area alone, including dozens of types of colorful wildflowers. Prickly pear cactus thrives in large colonies in the dry areas, and the wet prairies are carpeted with a wide variety of grasses and sedges. Large expanses of marsh in the swales support dense stands of cattail, bluejoint grass, prairie cordgrass, reed grass, big bluestem and sedges. The sandy ridges are crowned by black oak forests with an open, savanna-like appearance.

mountain biking
washed out
19 days ago

The trail is nice but Lake Michigan reclaimed a nice section of the bike trail down there so we had to trench our bikes through a pretty long section of sand and also some spots on the trail were flooded anywhere from 2”-4” in most flooded sections but one was Atleast 8-10” deep.

5 months ago

I've hiked and biked this trail. Superb sights to see and the lake, too! Wood areas to sand dunes to paved trails. This is a must see trail!

10 months ago

Be aware!!!!! Poison oak on the trail!!! My son wound up with it all over his face and he didn’t leave the trail. He played with a few sticks that were in the road!!!!!! Hard to get to a good access point on the trail. And bikers ride way to fast for walkers to be there as well...

11 months ago

This is my favorite trail in northeastern Illinois. Easy, flat trials that run right along Lake Michigan, so the views are spectacular. The trails are clean and usually not crowded if you stay away from the beach areas. Make sure to bring bug spray! Great place! Highly recommend.

Wed Aug 08 2018

Nice wide, well-groomed trails. Plenty of wildflowers, birds, and frogs. Lots of bicyclists since it's a bike trail.

Sun Sep 04 2016


mountain biking
Sat May 28 2016

Great, Beautiful Lake County at it's best!

Sat Mar 19 2016

Not pet friendly, Beach Is OK kinda dirty and always packed on weekends, but all in all fun with friends! :)

Sun May 24 2015

Trails were in great condition and picnic shelter areas were perfect for our afternoon away. We were hoping to explore more but brought our dog and found most of the park was not pet friendly.

8 months ago

8 months ago

8 months ago

nature trips
Mon Sep 01 2014

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