We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Des Plaines River Trail: State Line to Gurnee

Easy, fun, stress free ride along the Des Plaines River with options from beginner to expert.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview:  Unlike typicall arrow straight rails-to-trails projects, this improved trail offers quiet and fun riding as it meanders lazily to and ... more »

Tips:  When biking anywhere, always wear a helmet and eye protection.

Be prepared for changing riding surfaces and vehicle, pesdestrian, and... more »

Take this guide with you!

Save to mobile
Get this guide & thousands of others on your mobile phone
EveryTrail guides are created by travelers like you.
  1. 1. Download the EveryTrail app from the App Store
  2. 2. Search for the Des Plaines River Trail: State Line to Gurnee guide
  3. 3. Enjoy your self-guided tour
Get the app

Points of Interest

1. Russel Rd Trailhead

The northern terminus of the Des Plaines River Trail at Russell Road is just a stone's throw from the Wisconsin-Ilinois State Line.

There is a small parking lot and a larger area to the west for horse trailer parking. The lot accommodates only a few cars, but it is typically not full. Additional parking can be found further south in the preserve ... More

2. Sterling Lake Loop Trail Junction

The Des Plaines River Trail joins the Sterling Lake Loop trail in a wide intersection.

The Sterling Lake Loop Trail goes around the perimeter of Sterling Lake in a 2.4 mile loop. The loop is bisected by a cut-off trail over a bridge across the narrowest part of the lake directly in the middle.

The Des Plaines River Trail follows the Sterling... More

3. Des Plaines River Trail Bypass

The Des Plaines River Trail breaks left off of the Sterling Lake Loop trail as it follows the Des Plaines River which veers east. Following the Des Plaines River trail will bypass this section of the Sterling Lake Loop Trail which provides access to the cut-off trail over the bride and can be crowded at times.

The bypass with rejoin the Sterling ... More

4. Sterling Lake Loop Trail Junction

The Des Plaines River trail rejoins the Sterling Lake Loop trail from it's diversion 0.3 miles further north.

5. Scenic Overlook Spur

A short spur trail leads to a bench where you can take in a scenic view of Sterling Lake.

6. Van Patten Woods Trail Junction

A side trail to the left leads over a bridge and connects to the Van Patten Woods Trail.

The 1.7 mile Van Patten Woods trail travels through wooded areas and meadows before looping back.

7. Sterling Lake Loop Trail

The trail continues to the left while the Sterling Lake Loop trail veers off to the right.

The Sterling Lake Loop Trail goes around the perimeter of Sterling Lake in a 2.4 mile loop. Following the Sterling Lake Loop trail to the right leads to the Sterling Lake beach and parking lot.

8. Forest Preserve Road

The trail crosses Forest Preserve Road.

9. Route 173

A small spur trail on the north side of Route 173 leads to some convenience stores at the intersection of Route 173 and Highway 41.

10. Restrooms

Just off the trail are pit toilets, a hand pump, and gated emergency access to Highway 41.

11. Wadsworth Road

The trail crosses Wadsworth Road.

12. Wadsworth Rd. Spur

This spur trail parallels Wadsworth Rd. on the south side and travels west to the Wadsworth Rd. Parking lot.

You can find parking, food, water, and sundries at the many convenience stores and restaurants at the end of this spur.

13. Service Road Spur

The trail stays to the left.

The spur trail to the right leads to a service area connected to the south of the Wadsworth Road parking area.

14. Highway 41 Emergency Access Spur

The trail goes to the left. The trail to the rigth leads to gated emergency access on Highway 41.

15. Canoe Lauch Spur

The trail continues straight.

The spur trail off to the left leads to the canoe launch and parking lot of Wadsworth Road.

16. Bridge

A footbridege leds over a tributary to the Des Plaines River.

17. Highway 41

A footbrige crossess Highway 41.

18. Kilbourne Road

Trail crosses Kilbourne Road

19. Kilbourne Road Trailhead

Just off the trail is a parking lot with access from Kilbourne Road.

20. Old Grand Ave. Spur

Short trail leads to the intersection of Old Grand Ave. and Kilbourn Road.

21. Sterling Lake Parking Lot

Additional parking and a hand pump.

22. Sterling Lake Preserve Entrance

Entrance to the Sterling Lake Preserve.

23. Wadsworth Road Trailhead

A medium sized gravel parking lot on the southeast corner of the Route 41-Wadsworth Rd intersection. It has a spur trail leading east to the Des Plaines River Trail.

The Route 41-Wadsworth Rd. intersection is populated with gas/convenience stores on 3 of it's four sprawling corners. There are also food available at fast food and restaurants on... More

24. Old Grand Ave. Spur Access

Access to the spur trail leading to the Des Plaines River Trail from Old Grand Ave.

25. Sterling Lake Beach

This area supports the beach on Sterling Lake. It features a beach, pit toilets, water, picnic area, and parking.

26. Canoe Launch Trailhead

Directly off Wadsworth Road is a parking lot, canoe launch, pit toilets, and a picnic table on a high vantage point overlooking the river.