Illinois Prairie Path
The Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) is the first successful rail-to-trail conversion in the United States. This regional trail spans the western Chicagoland suburbs from Forest Park to the Fox River. The IPP branches out in Wheaton into two branches, the Elgin and Aurora, named after the communities where they terminate. Of the total 61 miles of IPP trail, 41 are located within DuPage County.
The IPP occupies the right-of-way formerly owned by the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railway (CA&E). The transit service formally ceased operations in the late 1950s. DuPage County purchased the CA&E property in 1963, and after significant debate about the best the use for the right of way, a group of citizens advocated for the property to be transformed into a regional trail. Over time, the Illinois Prairie Path Not-for-profit (IPPc) constructed the majority of the trail's mileage throughout the western suburbs. In the 1980s, DuPage County formally took over operation and maintenance of the trail network. Today, DuPage County DOT operates and maintains most of the path network.
Great Western Trail
The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a nearly 14-mile rail-trail in DuPage County, stretching from Villa Park to West Chicago. Situated on the former Chicago & Great Western Railway right of way, the GWT was constructed by DuPage County in the late 1980s after the railroad was abandoned. Today, DuPage County DOT operates and maintains most of the path network.
The East Branch DuPage River Trail (EBDRT, or East Branch Trail) is a planned 28-mile regional trail in central DuPage County. This north-south trail was first conceptualized in the 1990s as an off-street non-motorized pathway for DuPage residents west of I-355, connecting isolated pockets of forest preserves with parks, waterways, and several municipalities.
Much of the trail's 28 miles of proposed facilities were identified in 2004. That year, two of DuPage County's departments--Economic Development and Planning (now reconstituted), and the Division of Transportation--collaborated to commission a feasibility study of the East Branch Trail. The study served as a guiding document for proposed facilities throughout the corridor. From that feasibility study, multiple engineering studies were embarked upon to begin designing and constructing segments of the East Branch Trail.
Many of those segments identified in 2004 have struggled to progress into constructible projects. In response to the project development difficulties that the County and its partners have encountered, the Division of Transportation has undertaken a new preliminary engineering study to identify a feasible alignment to construct in future years.
For additional questions or concerns, contact the Division of Transportation at 630-407-6900 (Monday - Friday 8 am - 4:30 pm, excluding holidays).
East Branch DuPage River Trail Alignment Study
In 2019, the County partnered with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and the Village of Glen Ellyn to undertake a preliminary engineering study, known as the East Branch DuPage River Trail Alignment Study. The purpose of the EBDRT Alignment Study was to identify a feasible alignment to carry forward into future engineering studies and, eventually, construction. The limits of the study area were from the Great Western Trail to Butterfield Road, where vast tracts of public lands are criss-crossed by utility rights of way, state roads, and riverways.
To learn more or inquire about the project, click on the link in the upper-right corner of the screen with the EBDRT's logo. We want to hear your feedback and appreciate your interest in the development of this trail.
Also known as the Southern DuPage Regional Trail (SDRT), this 49-mile regional trail stretches from Hinsdale to Aurora along the southern third of DuPage County. By and large, the SDRT is a regional series of sidepaths beside County and township roads that connect downtowns, picturesque neighborhoods, and large tracts of forest preserves along its route. Significant stretches through Woodridge, Downers Grove, Westmont, and Willowbrook are on-street bicycle routes through residential neighborhoods.
The idea for the Southern DuPage Regional Trail was first conceived in the 1990s. Beginning in 1996, the County Bikeway Plan depicted a conceptual east-west alignment across the southern portion of DuPage County between Aurora and Hinsdale. The County took steps to initiate implementation but a few years later. In 2001, DuPage County hired a consultant team plan the trail's alignment through a feasibility study. From the alignment that was identified in the feasibility study, portions of the planned trail along County roadways were divided into connectable projects for engineering and construction through the 2000s.
This effort represented the largest new trail initiative by the County since the Great Western Trail in the 1980s. The Southern DuPage Regional Trail includes the following major features
- 49-miles of regional trail utilizing existing and proposed off-road trails
- Key connections to major forest preserves such as Waterfall Glen, Greene Valley, and Springbrook Prairie
- A diverse array of bikeway accommodations off-road paths, on-street designated bicycle lanes, and on-street signed bicycle routes
- From west to east, a main stem trail runs from Aurora to Woodridge, then branching into 3 spurs
- Connects 11 communities across the southern-third of DuPage County
The Salt Creek Greenway Trail (SCGT) is a 35-mile trail that connects eastern DuPage with western Cook County. The trail begins in Elk Grove, follows the Salt Creek through DuPage, and crosses into Cook again in Oak Brook. This riparian regional trail provides a continuous and welcome respite from the busy corridors surrounding IL Route 83 while allowing for ample access to/from adjacent communities.
The SCGT brings trail users through riverine forest preserves such as Salt Creek Marsh, Cricket Creek, and Fullersburg Woods--known as the site of the historic Graue Mill. After turning east in Oak Brook, the SCGT passes through forest preserves in Cook County and terminates at the Brookfield Zoo.
Within DuPage County, the Salt Creek Greenway Trail is considered complete. Trail users may travel from the northern border of DuPage County in Itasca, all the way through Oak Brook and into Cook County using mostly offstreet paths and sidepaths. Some segments of the trail are currently on-street, and are the focus of ongoing efforts to eventually separate trail users from vehicles.
The Salt Creek was planned, engineered, and constructed as part of an interagency effort in DuPage. Led by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, that interagency collaborative group included the County, park districts, and municipalities along the Salt Creek's watershed. In the late 1990s, the corridor was identified as a priority for a regional bicycle and pedestrian corridor to link the communities along the waterway. However, it was the Salt Creek Master Plan that served to create the modern route as DuPage and Cook trail users have come to know it. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, acting as the lead agency, coordinated with municipalities along the Creek to plan the route as a critical part of the recommendations of that Master Plan.
Although the County was involved in the planning stages, it was ultimately the Forest Preserve, municipalities, and park districts who came together to construct and maintain the trail. By the year 2010, most of the critical connections within the Creek's watershed had been completed. With its maintenance responsibilities shared by seven different agencies in DuPage, the Salt Creek Greenway Trail is a testament to the power of interagency cooperation.
The West Branch DuPage River Trail (WBDRT) is a 26-mile trail that connects DuPage communities along the West Branch of the DuPage River. This trail meanders through picturesque natural areas such as Timber Ridge, West DuPage Woods, and Blackwell Forest Preserve on its way through western DuPage County. At its southern terminus, the WBDRT connects to the DuPage River Trail in Will County. Along the way are the downtowns of communities like Winfield, Warrenville, and Naperville, where the trail offers long stretches of uninterrupted views of the riverfront between destinations.
The WBDRT is an interagency effort led by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The Forest Preserve has partnered with municipalities, park districts, and DuDOT to assist in the construction of various segments.
The West Branch DuPage River Trail is nearing completion. One final segment remains in West Chicago
- The trail segment between the West Branch Woods and Blackwell Forest Preserve will be the last remaining part of the West Branch DuPage River Trail to be constructed. A bridge will be constructed over IL 38 (Roosevelt Rd) and the West Branch of the DuPage River to bring trail users through West Chicago.
For more information, please visit the website for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County at www.dupageforest.org. Or, to go directly to the project website for the final segment in West Chicago, please visit https://www.dupageforest.org/news/upcoming-projects/west-dupage-river-trail-blackwell-west-dupage-woods.
The North Central DuPage Regional Trail (NCDRT) is a 19-mile trail spanning northern DuPage County. Stretching from Roselle to Wayne, the eastern terminus of the NCDRT connects to trails in Cook County that merge at Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove.
Like many other DuPage regional trails, this multi-jurisdictional project is shared among multiple agencies. To date, municipalities, park districts, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the DuPage County Division of Transportation (DuDOT), and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) have all participated throughout the trail's development process.
The trail is close to completion. The project linking the western terminus of the NCDRT with the IPP Elgin Branch is currently underway. Led by the Forest Preserve, the final trail segment is planned for construction near the west side of Munger Road to connect to the Elgin Branch west of the intersection of Smith Road and Munger in Pratt's Wayne Woods.
For more information, please visit our project status page for additional details. Or, visit the Forest Preserve's project page at https://www.dupageforest.org/news/upcoming-projects/pratts-wayne-woods-north-central-regional-trail.
The North Central DuPage Regional Trail was first conceived as the North-Central Bikeway, an east-west trail route through the northern third of DuPage. In its first appearance in the 1996 Regional Bikeway Plan, the trail followed Schick Road and Lies Road toward Glendale Heights. It was identified for its significance as a link to north-south bikeways throughout DuPage, but at that time it was acknowledged that its conceptual nature meant that it would need some help from future roadway projects to be implemented. Throughout the 2000s, the trail grew into the 19-mile plethora of sidepath, on-road, and offstreet trail facilities that it is today.
By the time that the 2008 Regional Bikeway Plan was adopted, over 3/4 of the trail had already been completed. Today, just one segment remains at the western terminus. With the NCDRT nearing completion, residents and visitors in DuPage's northern communities will soon be able to travel from the Elgin Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path to Busse Woods in Cook County without the aid of a vehicle.
The DuPage Technology Corridor Trail is a 16-mile planned regional trail will connect business parks, recreational areas, and residential neighborhoods throughout DuPage's western-most communities. The proposed trail will follow an alignment that traverses Fermi Lab and connects with the DuPage Airport, all while intersecting the Illinois Prairie Path at the Geneva Spur, Batavia Spur, Aurora Branch, and Elgin Branch. Initially conceived in 2003, the proposed trail will provide a non-motorized route the communities of Wayne, West Chicago, St. Charles, Batavia, Aurora, Geneva, Warrenville, Bartlett and Naperville.
As of 2019, this trail has been partially completed. Since the trail was first proposed, path segments have been constructed between Fabyan Parkway and Kautz Road at Geneva Drive, effectively linking the Geneva Spur with the DuPage Business Center.
For a copy of the concept plan for this trail, view the DuPage Technology Corridor Trail Concept Plan.