Monday, August 12, 2013

Millennium Trail Underpass Open at Grand Avenue

(Click to enlarge photos)

The Forest Preserve District of Lake County has opened another underpass on the Millennium Trail, this one ensuring safe passage beneath Grand Avenue in Lindenhurst, and connecting Fourth Lake Preserve to McDonalds Woods Preserve...



I began at the Operations Center visitor lot on the north side of Grand Avenue west of Route 45, and biked south through the underpass.  The trail then proceeds south through lovely forest and open meadows (and some leased farm fields) to a gate near Rollins Road.  Another underpass is planned at Rollins Road which will join this segment with the miles of trails available in Rollins Savanna Preserve.





A grass/dirt side trail heads west to this overlook at Fourth Lake, and assorted other brief grass trails weave through the area...




If you pedal north from the Operations Center, you leave the preserve and bike along a paved path through the Country Place subdivision.  Stop at the start of the houses and study the map seen below (or take a photo of it with your cell phone camera) because the Millennium Trail ahead is uncharacteristically (for the LCFPD) poorly marked with signs. After you cross Sand Lake Road, turn right as the trail encircles the Bonner Farm/Millennium Park property, and then crosses Country Place road.  The Millennium Trail continues as a paved trail as it follows Starling Lane through the subdivision and then crosses Meadowlark Circle.



The trail again becomes crushed gravel (all in good, solid condition) as you enter McDonald Woods.  You are in the southern-most section of the preserve and the trail is basically a lopsided figure eight trail.  Study where you are entering the loop trail or make a noticeable mark in the gravel so you see it when you return here, so you know which trail to use to leave the woods when you are heading back.  Again -- no signage here.  I turned right (counter-clockwise around the loop) and soon came to this preserve map.  As you can see, the lower loop goes around meadows and the upper loop around lakes/ponds, and your exit trail is at the bottom of the lower loop...




You'll no doubt enjoy the magnificent woods and scenic open areas and lakes.  The upper loop has an access trail to the parking lot off Grass Lake Road, and signage there indicates that an underpass is in the early stages of construction to take visitors under the road to Lindenhurst's Oak Ridge Park that is across the street, and presumably, an eventual extension of the Millennium Trail to the north.



This ride is only about 11 miles in length, but when the Rollins underpass opens next year, you'll be able to get rides 20+ miles in.  In addition to parking in the Operations lot, you can also access this ride using the Bonner Farm lot or the lot off Grass Lake.

Thanks again to the LCFPD for their continued work in extending the Millennium Trail and building segments to connect the existing sections of the trail!






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