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Grand Illinois Trail

Imagine...strolling along the Lake Michigan shoreline, biking through classic Chicago neighborhoods...visiting picturesque small towns and vibrant cities...hiking 19th-century tow paths...savoring the Mississippi River’s majesty.

The Grand Illinois Trail, as it loops more than 500 miles between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, the Grand Illinois Trail joins together existing and proposed state and local trails to create the state’s longest continuous trail. It hugs historic canals, crosses unglaciated hills, parallels the Rock and Fox Rivers, and includes one of America’s first rail-trails.

There is something for everyone on the Grand Illinois Trail. Become one of the few to complete the entire trail by participating in the Trail Blazer program.

In the early 1990s, with the growing network of northern Illinois trails, the DNR suggested a "Grand Illinois Trail" in the Illinois State Trails Plan. The concept was enthusiastically supported by cities and villages; park, forest preserve, and conservation districts; and non-profit organizations; the many local partners involved in the Grand Illinois Trail.

To help you plan your trip and navigate the trail, download the user's guide.

The Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Ride-GITAP

The Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Ride is a week-long cycling journey in June along the route of the GIT with overnights in Illinois state parks and nearby hotels. For more information, visit our organizing partner, the Ride Illinois GITAP page to learn more about this year's ride and see photos from previous rides.