The idea behind S24O tours is that camping and getting out into nature doesn't necessarily take a lot of time or equipment. Sub-24hour-Overnight. You could leave Saturday afternoon and be back by Sunday afternoon and still have time to do laundry.
I've never actually done a "true" S24O tour since I've been fortunate enough to have the time to take two days, but I just wanted to highlight places doable to make these kinds of trips happen from Chicago.
In that spirit, I've been putting together a Google Map with different camping locations here.
Any other shorter bike trips that you've taken, or want to take? Doing these are great experiences for testing out gear and figuring out if you're interested in doing a longer tour. Where are some locations close enough to Chicago where you've successfully done overnight bike camping trips?
My favorite ride that I did last year was taking the Metra out to Harvard and then biking up to Kettle Morraine State Park in Wisconsin. I ended up doing the ride twice and enjoyed it both times. The riding is almost all through rural areas with low traffic and nicely varied terrain. There is also a pretty decent swimming beach at Whitewater. I stayed two nights, but most of the group who joined us, just came for one. I did a pretty general write up here: http://www.balloonbiker.com/bike-touring/kettle-morraine-tour/
McQueen FP, northwest of Kirkland
Rush Creek, SE of Harvard
Beck's Woods, Chemung
Green River Wildlife Area, SW of Amboy
Some of the locations you may want to incorporate Metra if you are traveling from the city. Hit me up if you need cue sheets.
Wow! That's a great map. Well done Jami!
I just did my second trip to Pinewoods Campground in Kettle Moraine State Forest South this year. The first trip to Pinewoods was this past May when I met up with my fellow Chainlinkers who came up from Harvard, IL. As for me, I took the Hank Aaron State Trail, the New Berlin Recreational Trail, and the Glacial Drumlin State Trail as far as Hwy. 67. This last trip, I took a new tent along because my old blue tent broke a pole on the first trip and I couldn't find a replacement pole. Thanks to Tank Ridin' Ryan for bailing me out with his temporary sleeve. I bought a Eureka Tetragon 5 2-person dome tent at Dunham's in Cudahy for only $75. On the second pinewoods trip, it was the only dry spot in camp.
This map is so helpful, such great information, thank you for sharing!
I've done a couple of S24O trips to Illinois Beach State Park. Since I'm coming from Milwaukee, I find that there's a fairly decent string of trails I can take there, starting with the Oak Leaf Trail, the KRM in Racine Co.,the Pike Trail in Kenosha Co., and the Robert McClory Trail in Lake Co. This weekend, I'm planning another S24O from Milwaukee to Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit. I'll be taking the Hank Aaron State Trail into the New Berlin Recreational Trail, then into the Glacial Drumlin Trail as far as Waukesha Co. Hwy. C. Then I take Hwy. C to WI Hwy. 67 south to Cty. Hwy. ZZ. Then I turn into Ottawa Lake Recreational Area to check in.
A few more miles west on Glacial Drumlin is the Rome River campground that's not bad for a night. I've stopped there twice heading from Chicago to Madison.