Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Biking the Robert McClory Bike Path

The Robert McClory Bike Path (a renamed section of the North Shore Bike Path) follows the right-of-way of the old Chicago, North Shore, and Milwaukee Railroad (Interurban electric line) through Lake County for about 15 miles from Lake Bluff to the Wisconsin border, where it continues north and is called the Kenosha County Trail for the next 19 miles.  The trail’s current name, given in 1997, honors a bike-friendly government official. The path traverses Highland Park, Highwood, Fort Sheridan, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Great Lakes Naval Station, North Chicago, Waukegan, Beach Park, Zion, and Winthrop Harbor.

This lovely forested section pictured below is traversed as you begin biking north from Route 176 before reaching North Chicago where you pass the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. Watch for the sign which directs you to cross Sheridan Road at a traffic signal, and then take the bike trail/sidewalk down the grade, under the viaduct, and briefly through an industrial area. The trail is partially paved, but mostly crushed limestone as you progress north.

After the industrial area, you bike through North Chicago and Waukegan, with 17 street crossings within a few miles, pedaling past residences and industries. Old power towers from the railroad still stand along this stretch. Zion is the next town with 11 more street crossings and then the trail breaks into more pastoral, rural setting for the remainder of the ride to the Wisconsin state line where the trail becomes the Kenosha County Trail (after the Russell Road overpass) and continues 3.6 miles to Kenosha. Bike farther north on Kenosha's Pike Trail and then another trail and you'll get to Racine in 9.3 more miles.

In Zion, a short mile or so detour east down either Wadsworth or 29th Street will take you through Zion, to Illinois Beach State Park where there are six more miles of bike trails contained in two segments along Lake Michigan.  

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