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Sag Valley Main Trail

Intermediate

Trail

8.5 mile 13.6 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 364' 111 m
Descent: -364' -111 m
High: 731' 223 m
Low: 591' 180 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 15% (9°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Trail shared by Matthew Rodriguez

One of the nicest trails in the Chicago Area.

Matthew Rodriguez

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers

Overview

This trail features mostly small rolling hills with a few bigger hills on the east end.

Need to Know

Around Mile 4, Swallow Cliffs - North has a pair of stairs, a large sledding hill, and restrooms with flush toilets. Many people climb these stairs for fitness. The sledding hill is a recent conversion from a pair of toboggan runs that was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930

Description

The trail is a well marked, mixed-use, packed dirt trail. Equestrians and cyclists also use this trail on a regular basis, so keep proper trail etiquette in mind when visiting this area.  Follow the yellow blazes to keep on this loop. The rolling hills of this trail creates a terrain varied elevation that is found in few places in northeast Illinois.

The logged trail begins at the Swallow Cliffs - South forest preserve. It begins near the Brown Trail, but this loop follows the yellow blazes for its remainder. The trail crosses several creeks via bridges. Smaller streets are crossed, but for US-45/Lagrange Road, the trail passes through an underpass. After periods of substantial rain, there may be standing water in these underpasses.

In warmer months, proper precautions should be taken for mosquitoes and ticks. Poison ivy is found just off the trails.

History & Background

The Palos and Sag Valley preserves, in Southwest Cook County, comprise the largest and most diversified holding for the Cook County Forest Preserve. Mostly hilly and forested, they are notable for scenic beauty and rich in history back to glacial and geologic times. Masses of hawthorns and crabapples bloom in spring; the woodlands provide colorful autumn foliage. There are fine upland meadows; many lakes, ponds, and sloughs; a great variety and abundance of wildlife and the best fishing waters in Cook County.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Mar 5, 2020
Gary McGregor
Feb 1, 2020
Kevin Iverson
4.4mi
Dec 28, 2019
Susan D
3.8mi
Oct 27, 2019
Javier Lopez
8.5mi — 2h 30m
Oct 19, 2019
Jim Bauman
With Carle boys 9mi — 3h 30m
Jul 24, 2019
Cory Cotter
8.5mi — 15h 03m
Dec 29, 2018
Marisa Fujinaka
My dog and I did few laps around the stairs to warm up. It was a nice way to spend the morning! 8.5mi
Sep 2, 2018
Kat Tapiero
4.4mi

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 20 votes

#544

Overall
  4.4 from 20 votes
5 Star
45%
4 Star
45%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Hike Rankings

#3

in Illinois

#544

Overall
257 Views Last Month
7,000 Since May 20, 2015
Intermediate

22%
0%
72%
0%
6%
0%

Photos

Oak trees begin to leaf out in a well-managed oak woodland. With plenty of sunlight, the spring wildflowers are abundant.
May 10, 2017 near Palos Park, IL
The trail passes though a high quality oak savanna. Recent eco-restoration activity = good sight lines and lots of flowers.
Aug 31, 2016 near Palos Park, IL