Route: Sauganash / Valley Line Trail / Skokie Valley Trail (IL)

Submitted by leahhammer on Wed, 10/21/2020 - 08:11am
Illinois, US
8 mi
Vertical Gain
80 ft

The Sauganash  / Valley Line / Skokie Valley Trail is like an oasis in the middle of the city. Starting in Chicago where Bryn Mawr deadends after crossing Kedzie, you can park at the southern trailhead on the street. To the left (south) is the Weber Spur trail (a gravelly spur that takes you to the North Branch Trail), to the right (north)is Sauganash, which is paved with a soft shoulder. The trail is shady for the first 2 miles. It is approximately 4 miles in length. Be careful as you do cross some busy roads (use the signal lights) as you head into Lincolnwood, Skokie and Niles. You pass the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, worth a stop because it's a pretty park with kayak rentals. Because the trail is elevated (ex-railroad) it does not flood. It's also a great place to run mile repeats and tempo workouts since it is mostly straight, with a surprisingly challenging little hill due to the Touhy bridge. While the power lines are not pretty, the prairie grasses and native plantings make up for it. The trail does not get very crowded - extra nice when you really want to fly! NB: the trail changes names to "Valley Line Trail" once you cross Devon Avenue, and to "Skokie Valley Trail" when you cross Lincoln Avenue. The FKT route is the out-and-back 8 mile trip, starting from either end (or a double out-and-back starting from a midpoint of the trail).


I really enjoyed this route! It's flat and fast, except for the Touhy Bridge crossing. You do cross the road several times on the out and back. On the busiest one toward the northern end of this route (Main Street in Skokie), I got lucky when a commuter train had traffic stopped for me in both directions! Otherwise, it's pretty easy to slow down or speed up to avoid on-coming traffic.