Salt Creek Greenway Trail (5/11/13)
Total Time: 3 hours 38 minutes
Brookfield Zoo: 8:23am (+15 mins stop)
This Trip Report will focus heavy on the detail of the Salt Creek Greenway Trail. We didn't happen to capture any photos along the way as this was more of a fitness hike than a scenic hike. For future use, and other users as well, I'll seek to explain the ever so slight obstacles and route questions we encountered along the trail.
We started our trek with the Illinois Prairie Path in Lombard. Though it crosses many small side streets as it strolls out of Lombard and into Villa Park, its pretty easy-going. Just after crossing the bridge over Route 83-Kingery Hwy we looked for the Salt Creek Greenway Trail sign and sure enough it was easy to spot at the bottom of the hill. To catch the real trail we headed south on Rex Blvd. (almost no traffic) to its end and on the right it was evident where the Salt Creek Trail started. It was a dirt and partial wood chip trail right into the bits of woods that ran along the creek. It almost felt like we were at the back edge of people's yards. This initial trek was slow-going because of the softness of the trail. This eventually connects you to the paved trail. A better starting point as we would catch on our return trip would be to pick this up just west of the intersection of Fairview Ave. and Madison St.
The paved trail then hits Eldridge Park. It wasn't immediately evident which way to go as the paved trail is part of a loop. We went right (south) to stay nearest the creek and this proved correct. After a short jaunt in this direction you'll see the trail then heads right again over a bridge and then heads southeast to where it'll run alongside a parking lot at the very edge of the park. The crossing then at Butterfield Rd. was not a bad one. It was in here that my brother and I were simply impressed at how they snuck this great bike trail amidst so many other things as it passed neatly around a large complex of condos. It then hit the underpass for Roosevelt road where on the south side you zip around some ramps to regain street level and run along the south side of Roosevelt.
The trail starts heading south again at York Woods Forest Preserve. On the southeast side of these Woods we found bathrooms. It was also here you need to be somewhat observant to catch that the trail crosses the Frontage Rd/Harger Rd and then continues south where it uses a bridge to pass over I-88. The trail runs again due south for awhile through Oak Brook. At 22nd St. it is a major street crossing on the surface. After 22nd it runs along Oak Brook Golf Course where you find yourself quite near a pair of greens and a fairway. After the golf course ends you'll be nearing 31st St. Another big street crossing here and it is at this point you'll need to start being very observant. At almost exactly a quarter mile past 31st St. the Salt Creek Trail breaks east on Canterberry Ln. The black pave does continue south and we nearly continued to follow it, but the Salt Creek trail does break east here and we hardly saw any signage.
At the east end of Canterberry Ln. the trail underpasses I-294 and then you'll see more Meadowlark Golf course on your left and you'll be entering Bernis Woods. The stroll through the woods is beautiful and we saw a pair of deer through here. At the east end of the woods is the crossing for Wolf Rd. where we saw a fair amount of cars and no crossing light, so caution was needed. East of Wolf Rd. it now becomes Salt Creek Woods. Near the eastern edge of these woods the trail breaks north and picks up Edgewood Ave. which was basically traffic-less and this takes you up to another crossing of 31st St.
At this point in our bike hike we began to run into a few more bikers as the morning starting to go on. We saw more runners and walkers than anything during this hike. After crossing 31st again the trail heads due north through Possum Hollow Woods until eventually it hits the intersection of LaGrange Rd. and Cermak Rd. It crosses east here at the intersection and then immediately starts heading south on the east side of LaGrange Rd. From here the trail will cut east through Brezina Woods passing close to the subdivisions at its southern edge. The trail will cross 25th Ave and then pass into Twentysix Street Woods. After there its one more street crossing at Maple Ave. and then Brookfield Woods. The trail runs eventually to the western edge of the parking lots for Brookfield Zoo and picks up the dead-end street McCormick Ave. We stopped for snacks at the southwestern corner of the zoo lot. We contemplated exploring the Zoo entrance, and though we saw the sign for "Bike Entrance" for the lots there, we also saw the "No Trespassing" signs. So we stayed put.
Spent about 15 minutes resting up and drinking and eating in some calories. It was about 19.3 miles thus far. As we started back our legs were still feeling fresh and so we held pace and even upped the pace for the first stretch back. On the return we followed our same route exactly til the very end of the Salt Creek Trail. At Madison St. when the pavement seems to end and the initial dirt/chip trail picks up we simply followed the pavement out to Madison St. We then proceeded to follow Fairview Ave. all the way north til it Prairie Path Ln. We followed that east to the paved connector to pick up the Prairie Path again and follow that back to Lombard.
On our return we felt sprinkles at one point for a minute or so. The clouds were ominous at times but we knew the forecast called for a slight chance of rain at best. It was chilly for most of the hike. We figured lower 50s at best. It was cool when we started and we warmed well as we biked. After our 15 minute stop at Brookfield we had cooled again and enjoyed the warming back up. In all we were able to hit just over 40 miles by the time we made it back home. Definitely an enjoyable and somewhat scenic new track to hit.
TRACK:Here is a track of our bike ride as taken by my Runkeeper app:
My Track .