The Skokie Lagoons are a prime destination for water exploration in northern Cook County. This network of pools, channels and islands winds between Winnetka, Northfield and Glencoe. With public boat access (boasting some of Cook County’s best fishing), biking and hiking trails and picnic areas, this well-loved, wooded preserve offers peaceful retreats and activities around every bend. For more infomration and trip descriptions, please visit PaddleIllinoisWaterTrails.org.
Over seven miles of paved trails wind through Skokie Lagoons, including a 4.4-mile paved loop around a large section of the lagoons and a 1.5-mile paved connection to the North Branch Trail System.
The North Branch Trail links together the many forest preserves and green spaces along the North Branch of the Chicago River from the northwest side of Chicago all the way to the Botanic Gardens in Glencoe. While it’s relatively flat, the trail is an excellent place for both walking, hiking, biking, and trail running. A 13-mile stretch of paved trails links together Caldwell Woods with Skookie Lagoons, with additional unpaved natural trails winding through the woodlands and natural areas along the trail. A 4-mile paved trail loops around Skokie Lagoons, connecting the North Branch Trail to the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The round-trip from Caldwell Woods to the Chicago Botanic Garden is a popular route for many long-distance cyclers.
Please note: there are several street crossings as you travel along the trail, but the North Branch Trail is a relatively seamless way to link together a trip with limited interruptions. You will also get a great tour of the forest preserves along the river and natural setting surrounding it.
The North Branch Trail winds along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the Skokie Lagoons, providing access to various picnic groves, forest preserves, and also the Chicago Botanic Garden. The north end of the trail connects to the Green Bay Trail, which continues into the North Suburbs and Lake County. Bike rentals are available at Skokie Lagoons, Harms Woods, Bunker Hill, Caldwell Woods, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Dogs are welcome on the trail, but please keep them on a leash.