Nature & Wellness | Outdoor Excursions, Family Fun, Hiking & Biking

Illinois Prairie Path

Illinois Praire Path & South 1st Avenue
Maywood, IL 60153

Meet us where the path has a purpose

The Illinois Prairie Path begins right here in Maywood!

This was the very first rails-to-trails conversion in the United States. What was once a railway is now a trail for walkers, runners, bikers, and horseback riders that traces 61 beautiful miles through Cook DuPage, and Kane Counties.

Formerly the right-of-way for the Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric rail, this wooded pathway is now a non-motorized haven for anyone seeking a quiet moment with Mama Nature.

The path itself is delightfully cushioned because its made from crushed limestone, and the non-for-profit Illinois Prairie Path Corporation works to recreate the natural prairie around the walkway. Helpful trail maps, mile markers, and benches dot the path as well!

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The Illinois Prairie Path is best to visit from March through October, but it’s a beautiful stroll on a cold winter’s day as well (just bundle up!)


There is no cost to visit the Illinois Prairie Path.

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This is a path with a purpose!

After the trains stopped running through this narrow strip of land it became a dumping ground. Then a plan was developed for parking lots and shopping areas, but local resident Mary Theilgaard Waats had another idea in mind.

She wrote a letter to the editor envisioning a pathway that connected communities and honored nature. Soon, people all along the old railway were working together to create the reimagined Illinois Prairie Path.

It’s a beautiful story of collaboration and a beautiful way to explore the western suburbs!

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