For the benefit of recreation and conservation, Lake and Cook County Forest Preserve Districts have protected long stretches of the Des Plaines River by developing a Des Plaines River greenway and bike path along its banks. The trail is a natural oasis within a short drive of Chicago and its northern suburbs. Having such a long, lush trail just outside of such a densely populated urban area is truly a wonderful asset to the surrounding community. Together, the forest preserve districts are in the process of implementing a plan to link all the forest preserves with a regional greenway trail, and have developed and promoted the recreational use of the river by creating canoe launch sites on the northern and middle section of the river.
The Des Plaines River Trail runs alongside the Des Plaines River for just over 56 miles, protecting watershed habitat and forestland through much of Lake and Cook Counties. Traveling from the north end to the south end, you will experience a variety of trail surfaces, from pavement to crushed stone to single-track forest trail. Additionally, you can explore the Des Plaines River by canoe or kayak on the Des Plaines River Water Trail.