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Des Plaines River Trail: Gurnee to Old School

Complete and detailed guide of the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway from Gurnee to the Old School Forest Preserve.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10.2 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway traverses Lake County, Illinois, North to South, over 31 miles as it winds it's way along the... more »

Tips:  The Des Plaines River Trail on the shores of the Des Plaines River, is susceptible to flooding during or immediately after periods of ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Gowe Park Trailhead

Gowe Park is centrally located in Gurnee and is adjacent to the trail.

Gowe park has parking, restrooms, water, canoe launch, and a wide boardwalk overlooking the Des Plaines River which doubles as the bike trail.

2. Washington Street Access Spur

A short spur trail to the south leads to a path running parallel to Washington Street.

3. Washington Street Underpass

The trail ducks under Washington Street with this underpass.

CAUTION! Underpasses and the adjacent trail may be submerged by the rising river during and immediately after wet weather.

A large boulder with plaque show the recent high water mark.

4. O'Plaine Road Access Spur

A short bridge preceeds a wide intersection with the O'Plaine Road Access Spur.

The spur heads left to a paved access road at the main gate to a water treatment plant. The access road is accessible from O'Plaine Road.

5. Tri-State Tollway (I-94) Underpass

The trail ducks under Interstate 94 with this underpass.

CAUTION! Underpasses and the adjacent trail may be submerged by the rising river during and immediately after wet weather.

6. Belvidere Road Restrooms

Pit toilets located directly off the trail.

7. Belvidere Road Boardwalk

A long, wide boardwalk juts over the Des Plaines River just before the trail ducks under Belvidere Road.

8. Belvidere Road (Hwy. 120) Underpass

The trail ducks under Belvidere Road with this underpass.

CAUTION! Underpasses and the adjacent trail may be submerged by the rising river during and immediately after wet weather.

9. River Road North Access Spur

A wide intersection with the River Road Access Spur. This is the northernmost of two spurs that access River Road.

The spur heads left and intersects River Road where it curves East.

10. River Road South Access Spur

A wide intersection with the River Road Access Spur. This is the southernmost of two spurs that access River Road.

The spur heads left to the intersection of River Road and River Park Drive.

11. Overlook Trail Intersection

Intersection with the Overlook Trail of the Independence Grove Forest Preserve.

The Des Plaines River Trail continues to the right.

Following the Overlook trail to the left leads shortly to a fantastic viewpoint of Independence Grove from the NE corner of the forest preserve.

Independence Grove offers outdoor recreation and education... More

12. Lakeside Trail Intersection

A bridge proceeds a wide intersection with the Lakeside Trail in Independence Grove. Following the path to the left leads immediately to the Lakkeside Trail which follows the lakeshore in a loop. The Lakeside Trail provides access to the adjacent parking lot, restrooms, and pavillion.

The Des Plaines River Trail continues to the right.

13. Independence Grove Bridge

Footbridge leads over the Des Plaines River.

14. Buckley Road (Hwy. 137) Underpass

The trail ducks under Buckley Road (Hwy. 137) with this underpass.

CAUTION! Underpasses and the adjacent trail may be submerged by the rising river during and immediately after wet weather.

15. Adler Park North Access Spur

The spur heads right into Alder Park.

Located in central Libertyville, IL, Adler park offers parking, water, restrooms, swimming pool, picnic areas, playgrounds, and disc golf course.

16. Adler Park South Access Spur

The spur heads right into Alder Park.

17. Oak Spring Road

The trail crosses Oak Spring Road.

18. Oak Spring Road Trailhead Spur

A spur trail heads north, to the left, to the trailhed at West Oak Spring Road.

The Des Plaines River Trail continues south to the right under a bridge.

19. Bridge

A foot bridge leads over the Des Plaines River.

20. Park Ave. (Hwy. 176) Underpass

The trail ducks under Park Ave. (Hwy. 176) with this underpass.

CAUTION! Underpasses and the adjacent trail may be submerged by the rising river during and immediately after wet weather.

21. North Shore Bike Path Spur

The spur heads left to an intersection with the North Shore Bike Path.

22. Rockland Road

Trail crosses Rockland Road.

23. Rockland Road Access Spur

A spur to the right leads to an access point on Rockland Road.

24. St. Mary's Road Underpass

The trail passes under St. Mary's Road through a short tunnel and enters Old School Forest Preserve on the other side.

25. Outer Loop Trail Intersection

The Des Plaines River Trail merges with the Outer Loop Trail of the Old School Forest Preserve and continues south. The Outer Loop Trail travels around Old School Forest Preserve in a 2.6 mile loop.

The Old School Forest Preserve offers miles of trails, great bass fishing and secluded picnic spots in the heart of Lake County.

26. Old School Trailhead Access Spur

A short spur trail heads left into a parking lot with restrooms, water, and picnic pavillions.

27. Independence Grove Overlook

This overlooks provides fantastics views of Independence Grove Forest Preserve. It is definately worth the short deteur off the trail.

The overlook is on the Overlook Trail and can be access via the Overlook Trail's intersection with the Des Plaines River Trail on the north side of Independence Grove.

28. River Road North Trail Access

Access from River Road to the Des Plaines River Trail via a short spur trail.

29. Washington Street Trail Access

Access to the Des Plaines River Trail via a short spur trail.

30. O'Plaine Road Trail Access

Access to the Des Plaines River Trail from off of O'Plaine Road.

31. Adler Park Trailhead

Trailhead located within Adler Park which provides parking, water, and restrooms.

32. Adler Park Entrance

Located in central Libertyville, IL, Adler park offers parking, water, restrooms, swimming pool, picnic areas, playgrounds, and disc golf course.

33. Independence Grove Entrance

Independence Grove offers outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered on a 115-acre lake. Surrounding prairie and woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, picnicking and other fun activities.

34. Rockland Road Trail Access

Access to spur trail leading to the Des Plaines River Trail from Rockland Road.

35. Oak Spring Road Trailhead

Provides trail access, parking, and a canoe launch.

36. North Shore Trail Access

Access to the North Shore where it crosses Ashbury Lane.

37. North Shore Bike Path Intersection

The spur from the Des Plaines River Trail intersects the North Shore Bike Path.

38. Independence Grove Trailhead

Parking lot in northwest corner of Independence Grove with access to the Des Plaines River Trail, water, and restrooms.

Independence Grove offers outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered on a 115-acre lake. Surrounding prairie and woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, picnicking and other fun activities.

39. Independence Grove Trailhead Restrooms

Restrooms in the Northwest corner of Independance Grove.

40. River Road South Trail Access

Access trail from River Road.

41. Old School Trailhead Restrooms

42. Old School Trailhead

A short spur trail provides access to the Des Plaines River Trail from parking, restrooms, and picnic pavillions.

43. Old School Forest Preserve Entrance

Provides access to the Old School Forest Preserve, which contains the Old School Trailhead for the Des Plaines River Trail, parking, water, and restrooms.

The Old School Forest Preserve offers miles of trails, great bass fishing and secluded picnic spots in the heart of Lake County.