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The granddaddy of Chicago trail systems; plenty of fun and flow mixed with some techy challenges.


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Map Key

14.8

Miles

23.8

KM

100%

Singletrack

733' 224 m

High

601' 183 m

Low

650' 198 m

Up

650' 198 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Wear a helmet, yield the trail appropriately, and don't ride wet trails.

Overview

Palos is the granddaddy of the trail systems available in Chicago. It is the largest trail system and therefore gets the most use. In all, there are some fifty miles of singletrack and widetrack trails to explore, though the legal singletrack is congregated in the western half. The area has hills, rolling widetrack, tight twisty singletrack, climbs, fast descents, and plenty more to keep you satisfied for hours.

Description

Start at Maple Lake East parking area and head out on Maple Lake East on an easy downhill roll with views of Maple Lake.

Continue on Hickory Smoked for some winding, wooded singletrack near Maple Lake. This part of the route features an armored water crossing as well as a challenging root system that can be bypassed or attacked with gusto for those seeking some challenge. At the end of this trail, stay right on the road for a short bit and then turn left on Bullwhip.

Bullwhip starts with several wide switchback climbs and a single armored hump. From there, the trail transitions to tight turns followed by a short downhill run toward the parking lot at Pulaski Woods South. Continue straight across a dirt road to a short climb with some waterbars and berms, more climbing, before coming to an intersection with Palos Yellow Multitrack (East). Stay Right here and then make a quick left onto Pipeline.

Pipeline is an easy and smooth east-west route that will take you to the west side of Palos. Continue straight through the 4-way intersection with Ho Chi Minh and then left at the Pipeline North intersection. The trail eventually reaches its end at Dynamite Road where you'll turn left.

Pedal Dynamite Road past Psycho Path, staying left at the intersection with Three Ravines. This section is fairly smooth and not technical. Below Three Ravines the trail drops into a fun and techy downhill with lots of rocks and roots.

Cross Dynamite Road to get to XX/Canal Access from 104th Ave. Drop in and then turn right on the XX Extension. This part of the ride is an out-and-back with a short loop at the end. This is also one of the more scenic and challenging parts of Palos and should not be missed. Enjoy narrow trail with whoops followed by limestone rock gardens. The far end has a short loop with a short steep descent and climb.

When you get back to the XX/Canal Access from 104th Ave connector, head back the way you came on Dynamite Road. When you top out on the climb, turn right onto Three Ravines.

Three Ravines is exactly as the name implies, three ravine crossings - each one very different in approach and execution. Three Ravines runs predominantly downhill from the middle of Dynamite Road to a three-way intersection with Ho Chi Minh and One Day. Since the trails can be ridden in either direction, it's wise to announce your presence entering each ravine to alert any oncoming riders.

After you've whooped it up on Three Ravines, continue on One Day. Enjoy fast and smooth singletrack with bermed switchbacks. On the eastern end of the trail, you'll pass on old homestead. Just before the intersection with Gravity Cavity, you'll cross a small creek.

At the intersection, jump on Stonehouse and enjoy some more fun and flow. This part of the route also winds through some of the most scenic areas of Palos. Along the way, you'll ride across several armored creek crossings and an old CCC shelter.

A series of switchbacks followed by a couple of creek crossings brings you to Burrito Hill. Stay left here and pedal over to the Palos Yellow Multitrack (East).

Turn left here and follow this wider, crushed limestone trail west to the intersection with Bullwhip and Pipeline. Stay right and finish the Palos tour, retracing your steps back to the Maple Lake East parking area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier with improvements by Robert Kasper and 4 others

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 53 votes

#285

Overall
  4.3 from 53 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
26%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
4%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Illinois

#285

Overall
147 Views Last Month
32,463 Since Oct 28, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

2%
6%
38%
11%
38%
6%

Photos

Beautiful and challenging limestone section on XX Extension.
Oct 28, 2016 near Burr Ridge, IL
Rockin' a berm at the bottom of One Day.
Oct 28, 2016 near Palos H…, IL
Eastbound climb out of the west ravine.
Oct 26, 2015 near Burr Ridge, IL
Smooth berm
Oct 25, 2015 near Willow…, IL
Jason and Justin wind back and forth through the ravine on Bloodshed.
Oct 13, 2015 near Burr Ridge, IL
Testing gravity on Gravity Cavity
Oct 23, 2017 near Palos H…, IL
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Minor Issues 3 days ago
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Check-Ins

Nov 19, 2023
Simon Wu Wu
Nov 13, 2023
Simon Wu Wu
Sep 10, 2023
Dan Salzman
Aug 21, 2023
Adam Berkson
Tree down blocking trail
Jul 12, 2023
Anna Mmm
Jun 9, 2023
Cornell Hofman
5mi
Apr 23, 2023
Gregor Wilke
12.5mi — 1h 30m
May 29, 2022
Kaushik Guha

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