Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
MTB Project Logo

Palos Tour

 4.3 (26)

15.3 Miles 24.6 Kilometers



920' 280 m


-920' -280 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (7°)

738' 225 m


600' 183 m


Shared By Leslie Kehmeier


Minor Issues 9 days ago
Check for up to date trail info. Trails are maintained by volunteers... please be respectful. History

Getting forecast...

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

Leslie Kehmeier

Dogs Leashed

Features -none-

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


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.


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.


You & This Featured Ride

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Ride

Your Check-Ins


Aug 18, 2018
Gary Ziebell
Aug 11, 2018
Scott Oakes
Jul 29, 2018
Jake B
Jul 12, 2018
Justin Ritchie
Jul 7, 2018
Justin Ritchie
Jul 4, 2018
Justin Ritchie
Jun 16, 2018
Lester Ancheta
First time checking out the Chicago Trail system - Palos Reserve.
Jun 7, 2018
Antonella Terracina

Stewarded By

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 26 votes


  4.3 from 26 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star


in Illinois


716 Views Last Month
9,400 Since Oct 28, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

Larry Burke
Colorado Springs, Co
Larry Burke   Colorado Springs, Co
The numbers 1, 2 and 3 rated trails on this same site are ALL part of the Palos system yet Palos is rated the #11 system? Anyway, if you are near Chicago, Palos is the place to go. Feb 18, 2017
Chris Babbitt
Cincinnati OH
Chris Babbitt   Cincinnati OH
The trail names in MTB project are not what is used at the park. The trail maps at the part have color-coded trails and at each map you stop at, there will be a numbered post that corresponds to numbers on the map. We met up with a local (Tom) who graciously gave us tour of some of the new trail and best flow (which is more in the trails in the top left of this trail map). Imperial Oak is a great brewery very close by. Really nice trails. Feb 5, 2018
Douglas Roper
Douglas Roper   Illinois
Warning to new riders and those from out of the area. Palos trails are not properly marked and one can find her/himself on a trail not intended for MTB use. CCFPD police have issued tickets for unknowingly riding trails that riders thought were for MTB use. I recommend taking pics and fighting these types of citations in court if one gets issued one, as the county is not doing what it's suppose to in regards to properly marking the trail system. It's also a safety issue. Jun 17, 2018

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter