A fun and hilly hike that's on par with many other trail systems in the Illinois area.
The network at Spring Lake Park is made up of three primary loops (Deer Trail
, Fox Trail
, and Rat Trail
) and several smaller loops and connectors. The trails at Spring Lake are tight in some spots, and they do have lots of bridges and log piles. Altogether, though, they add up to over nine miles of scenic singletrack!
From the parking area, head away from the lake and across the grass to a tree-lined corner. Start in on "A" Loop
with a steep climb that's followed by short downhills.
At the Baby Rat
intersection, turn left for three-quarters of a mile of tight singletrack. It's one of the newer sections of trail. Turn left at the next intersection to follow the Spillway Connector
across a low wooden bridge and over the water.
Up next, follow Bunny Trail
for an easy loop that's a mix of single and doubletrack. On the other end, turn left to follow the Bunny - Deer Connector
to the start of Deer Trail
. Turn west (left) and head along the easy doubletrack until it reaches the start of Rat Trail
. This technical, winding trail loops to the south and features some of the most challenging uphills and biggest descents around the lake. Once you've dealt with all the elevation changes, Rat spills back onto Deer Trail
so hikers can follow the north portion of that loop.
Enjoy almost a mile of easy travel before reaching the start of Fox Trail
. This is the backbone of the Spring Lake Park trail system. The Fox Trail
has been here forever and provides the only way out to West Extension
, which in turn makes a nice extension to all the mileage hikers have been racking up.
After the West Extension
, continue on the lower side of Fox Trail
past a couple mountain bike features (Roller Coaster and Triple Jump) as well as Campsite Three. Pick up Eagle Trail
for a very fun, must-hike trail that travels close along the lake. It accesses Campsite Two at the intersection with the Eagle Cutoff
and Campsite One before it makes a long turn back to Deer Trail
Once back at the dam, you can hike across the top for an easy return back to the parking area.