BIKING THE GREEN BAY TRAIL
In 1962, residents of Winnetka and Glencoe
banded together and convinced their village boards to get control of the
right-of-way of the old North Shore Railroad. In 1965, the property was
purchased by the towns and leased to the Green Bay Trail Committee which
developed the trail. In the 1970s it was extended north and south and now
runs nearly 10 miles from Kennilworth, north of Lake Avenue, to Highland
Park, and is managed by the four communities it connects, Kennilworth, Winnetka,
Glencoe, and Highland Park.
A good portion of the trail is adjacent to
the active Metra/Union Pacific railroad line. The entire trail is a repeating
patchwork of sections of trail through lovely wooded areas, commuter parking
lots, village streets, and small parks with playgrounds, giving a good feel
for the four suburbs it traverses. The trail surface alternates between
asphalt and crushed limestone and is acceptable for road bikes.
Several miles of trail are below grade level
with all roads crossing above you on bridges, giving a real feeling of being
away from civilization despite the urban surroundings. The next section
south finds the trail above grade, passing over roads and giving an aerial
view of the suburb. North of Lake Cook Road, the trail is at times indistinct,
often becoming a village street or a commuter parking lot, but if you keep
heading north and stay near the tracks, it will reappear as a trail, and
many find it interesting to ride through the old north shore towns and even
past the world renown Ravinia Festival venue.
The North Branch
Trail can be reached by heading east on Lake Cook Road (or the sidewalk
on its north side) to The Chicago Botanic Gardens, where you bike into the
parking area (no charge for bikes or pedestrians) and follow the service
road south to Dundee Road. Across Dundee Road you can go right or left because
both ways loop Skokie Lagoons. At Tower Road, the trail continues south
for 20 miles to the Chicago intersection of Devon and Caldwell.
To the north, both the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Trail
and the Robert McClory Trail take bikers
as far north as Kenosha, WI.