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looking for route from chicago to starved rock

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oooh, me too.
There's a trailhead in Willow Springs which will put you on an historic and lovely path along the Illinois & Michigan Canal pretty much all the way to Starved Rock.

Someday that trail is supposed to run up to Lyons, but until then you'll have to brave some tricky suburbs between Chicago and Willow Springs -- with the potential for roads both acceptably-friendly and death-defying. I've found a route I enjoy (relatively speaking) if you'd like to hear about it, but if you feel like you can get to Willow Springs, you can get to Starved Rock, no problem.

If that near-suburban leg of the route doesn't appeal to you, a lot of people put their bikes on Metra, ride to Joliet, and pick up the towpath there.

It's a nice ride, either way: a low-traffic bike path without many at-grade road crossings, surprising amounts of wildlife, beautiful undeveloped (or reclaimed) wetlands, and some intriguing archaeological layers -- the I&M Canal was a thriving industrial corridor before the railroads, so it has a long memory for the way we've built and made things.
so where exactly is the path in willow springs and does the path go continuosly or does it break up in certain spots, have you rode this path before? thanks
It starts just 'round the corner from here, beneath Willow Springs Road. See the Metra station? There's a parking lot just northwest of it; the trailhead's there.

The path is essentially continuous. Amazingly so, really. The only sustained break is through Joliet, where you'll be on local streets for a few minutes, but it's a pleasant little city.

I've not yet been as far west as Starved Rock, but yes, I like to ride on this path. There's camping at a couple of places along the way, which makes for a relatively quick overnight trip out and back.
great thanlks alot i you have been a great help.

burden said:
It starts just 'round the corner from here, beneath Willow Springs Road. See the Metra station? There's a parking lot just northwest of it; the trailhead's there.

The path is essentially continuous. Amazingly so, really. The only sustained break is through Joliet, where you'll be on local streets for a few minutes, but it's a pleasant little city.

I've not yet been as far west as Starved Rock, but yes, I like to ride on this path. There's camping at a couple of places along the way, which makes for a relatively quick overnight trip out and back.
Google "I&M Canal" for a wealth of information about the trail.

Illinois DOT has some bike route maps for download, too. I find them to be annoyingly loose on cartographic details, and slightly untrustworthy, but they're a good start for looking at trail networks in the area.

Have a good trip! I'm also hoping to get out to Starved Rock, sometime this camping season.

I have ridden most of the I&M path and it's a gem, loaded with history, lots of town restorations, and generally a lot of fun to ride.  With just a few tweaks it could become my #1 favorite.  

Thanks for sharing - this looks like an excellent three, even two day vacation I can sneak in before school starts. Any favorite places at Starved Rock?

There was just a chainlink camping trip to starved rock about a month ago.  The long and short of it is that the I & M path is great except for it gets sketchy near the end.  I think the route that appeared to be the best one was to take the Metra to Joliet, then the I & M trail to around Marseilles.  Then hopping on IL 6 to Ottawa and then onto IL 71 to starved rock. 

I rode this last year to Starved Rock, after taking the Metra to Joliet.  Just a warning, the I&M canal trail is great until Morris, but after Morris it is poorly maintained.  Huge ruts, overgrown vegetation, puddles, etc.  On my way back I decided to ride the quiet road next to the trail because the trail was in such poor condition.

I rode as far as Channahon a couple of weeks ago, and managed to lose the trail at 135th Street in Romeoville. As an FYI, you find it by traveling several hundred yards east, on the north side of 135th. An underpass leading to the continuation of the trail is found on the west side of an access drive to the Citgo refinery.

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