Robert McClory Trail In Illinois

Here is everything you need to know about the Robert McClory Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Illinois
  • Length: 3.5 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use.
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Lake County Forest Preserves
  • Permit Required?: No.
  • Website:

The Robert McClory Trail, formerly known as the North Shore Bike Path, is a scenic trail located in northeastern Illinois, United States. The trail stretches approximately 26 miles, running parallel to Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and is named after Robert McClory, a former U.S. Congressman from Illinois. The trail’s history dates back to the late 1960s when the idea of creating a dedicated path for cyclists and pedestrians along the North Shore was first proposed.

In 1968, the Lake County Forest Preserve District acquired the abandoned Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way, which provided the perfect opportunity to develop a recreational trail. The initial section of the trail, spanning from Lake Bluff to Highland Park, was opened in 1974, offering a safe and enjoyable route for outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years, the trail has been extended and improved, connecting various communities along the North Shore.

The Robert McClory Trail not only serves as a recreational resource but also holds historical significance. The trail follows the path of the former electric interurban railway, which operated from the early 1900s until 1963. This railway played a vital role in the development and growth of the North Shore communities, providing transportation for both commuters and tourists. Today, remnants of the railway’s infrastructure can still be seen along the trail, including old bridges and station sites, serving as a reminder of the region’s transportation history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Green Bay Trailhead – Located in Highland Park, Illinois, this trailhead is the starting point of the Robert McClory Trail. It offers parking facilities and easy access to the trail.

2. Lake Bluff Trailhead – Situated in Lake Bluff, Illinois, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is a popular starting point for cyclists and hikers.

3. Waukegan Trailhead – Located in Waukegan, Illinois, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Robert McClory Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those coming from the northern suburbs.

4. North Chicago Trailhead – Situated in North Chicago, Illinois, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is easily accessible and offers a starting point for those coming from the southern suburbs.

5. Great Lakes Naval Base Trailhead – Located near the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Robert McClory Trail. It is a popular starting point for military personnel and local residents.

6. Kenosha Trailhead – Situated in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is the northernmost trailhead of the Robert McClory Trail and offers a scenic starting point for cyclists and hikers.

7. Racine Trailhead – Located in Racine, Wisconsin, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Robert McClory Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those coming from the southern suburbs of Milwaukee.

8. South Milwaukee Trailhead – Situated in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is a popular starting point for cyclists and hikers, offering easy access to the trail.

9. Oak Creek Trailhead – Located in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, this trailhead offers parking and access to the Robert McClory Trail. It is a convenient starting point for those coming from the southern suburbs of Milwaukee.

10. Milwaukee Trailhead – Situated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this access point provides parking and access to the trail. It is the southernmost trailhead of the Robert McClory Trail and offers a starting point for those coming from the city or surrounding areas.

Transportation Available

1. Metra North Central Service – Commuter train service connecting Antioch to downtown Chicago.
2. Pace Bus Route 565 – Bus service connecting Waukegan to the Robert McClory Trail.
3. Uber – On-demand ride-hailing service available in the area.
4. Lyft – Another on-demand ride-hailing service operating in the vicinity.
5. Zipcar – Car-sharing service providing convenient access to vehicles for short-term use.
6. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – Car rental service offering various vehicle options for longer trips.
7. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service serving the area around the Robert McClory Trail.
8. Bike Share – Local bike-sharing program providing bicycles for rent to explore the trail and surrounding areas.


The amenities available at the Robert McClory Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas provided for trail users at different access points along the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The trail does not have designated camping sites, but there may be nearby campgrounds or parks where camping is allowed. It is advisable to check with local authorities for camping options in the vicinity of the trail.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas available along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the scenic surroundings.

5. Water Stations: Some sections of the trail may have water stations or fountains where visitors can refill their water bottles.

6. Bike Repair Stations: In certain areas, there may be bike repair stations equipped with tools and air pumps for cyclists to use in case of any mechanical issues.

7. Benches and Seating: The trail is equipped with benches and seating areas at regular intervals, providing opportunities for rest and relaxation.

8. Trailhead Information Boards: At the trailheads or access points, there are information boards providing details about the trail, its history, and any specific rules or regulations.

9. Signage and Mile Markers: The trail is marked with signage and mile markers to help users navigate and track their progress.

10. Scenic Overlooks: There may be designated scenic overlooks along the trail, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.

Please note that amenities may vary along different sections of the trail, so it is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management for specific amenities available at the desired location.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Indigo Chicago-Vernon Hills: Modern hotel offering comfortable accommodations near the Robert McClory Trail.
2. Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-Libertyville: Convenient hotel with complimentary breakfast and easy access to the trail.
3. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Zurich-Barrington: Contemporary hotel providing a relaxing stay close to the Robert McClory Trail.
4. The Silo Restaurant: Cozy eatery serving American comfort food near the trail.
5. Mickey Finn’s Brewery: Lively brewpub offering craft beers and pub fare near the Robert McClory Trail.
6. Portillo’s Hot Dogs: Popular fast-food chain known for its Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches, located nearby.
7. Advocate Condell Medical Center: Full-service hospital providing emergency medical services in the area.

Robert McClory Trail Difficulty Notes

The Robert McClory Trail, also known as the Lake County Bike Path, offers a moderate difficulty level for cyclists of varying skill levels. The trail spans approximately 26 miles, providing a scenic route through Lake County, Illinois. With mostly flat terrain and well-maintained asphalt surfaces, it is suitable for beginners and families looking for a leisurely ride. However, there are a few sections with slight inclines and some road crossings that require caution. Overall, the trail offers a pleasant and accessible experience for cyclists seeking a mix of recreational and fitness activities.

Features And Attractions

The Robert McClory Trail, also known as the North Shore Bike Path, is a 26-mile long trail located in northeastern Illinois, United States. While it primarily serves as a recreational trail for biking, walking, and running, it also offers several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along its route. Here are some notable points of interest along the Robert McClory Trail:

1. Illinois Beach State Park: Located at the northern end of the trail, this state park offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, sandy beaches, dunes, and diverse wildlife.

2. Waukegan Harbor: As you travel south from Illinois Beach State Park, you’ll pass by Waukegan Harbor, a picturesque marina with boats, lighthouses, and waterfront restaurants.

3. Waukegan Municipal Beach: This beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. It offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline on clear days.

4. Bowen Park: Located in Waukegan, Bowen Park is a large recreational area with beautiful gardens, walking paths, and a historic mansion called the Jack Benny Center for the Arts.

5. Greenbelt Forest Preserve: This forest preserve is a peaceful natural area with trails, wetlands, and woodlands. It provides a serene environment for birdwatching and nature exploration.

6. Independence Grove Forest Preserve: Situated in Libertyville, this forest preserve features a large lake, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a beach. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

7. Des Plaines River Trail: The Robert McClory Trail intersects with the Des Plaines River Trail, which offers additional scenic views and connects to other regional trails.

8. Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve: This former military base turned forest preserve offers historical sites, including the Fort Sheridan Cemetery and remnants of old military buildings. It also provides access to Lake Michigan.

9. Lake Bluff: As you approach the southern end of the trail, you’ll pass through the charming village of Lake Bluff, known for its historic homes, tree-lined streets, and Lake Bluff Golf Club.

10. Lake Forest: The trail ends in Lake Forest, a picturesque city with beautiful estates, parks, and the renowned Lake Forest College. The city’s downtown area offers shops, restaurants, and a vibrant atmosphere.

These are just a few of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can encounter along the Robert McClory Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with a diverse range of experiences, from stunning lake views to peaceful forest preserves and charming towns.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and pedestrians have the right of way.
4. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
5. No camping or overnight stays are permitted.
6. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
7. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
8. Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
9. Do not litter and help keep the trail clean.
10. Follow all posted signs and regulations.
11. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
12. Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a safe distance.
13. No hunting or fishing is allowed on the trail.
14. Alcohol and illegal substances are strictly prohibited.
15. Report any suspicious or illegal activities to the appropriate authorities.

Seasonal Information

The Robert McClory Trail, also known as the North Shore Bike Path, is a scenic trail located in northeastern Illinois. Stretching for approximately 26 miles, the trail offers a picturesque route for cyclists, walkers, and joggers, showcasing the natural beauty of the region. When planning a visit to the Robert McClory Trail, it is essential to consider the best times of the year to fully enjoy the experience.

One of the most popular times to visit the Robert McClory Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as flowers bloom and trees regain their lush foliage. The weather during this time is generally mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Fall, on the other hand, offers a breathtaking display of autumnal hues as the leaves change color, creating a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the trail.

It is important to note that the Robert McClory Trail is open year-round, but there are certain seasonal closures to be aware of. During the winter months, sections of the trail may be closed or inaccessible due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs during other times of the year. It is always a good idea to check for any closures or updates before embarking on your journey.

Overall, the best times to visit the Robert McClory Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the scenery is at its most captivating. However, with proper planning and awareness of any seasonal closures, the trail can be enjoyed year-round, offering a delightful escape into nature for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathway: The trail features a smooth, paved surface suitable for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are located along the trail, providing accessible facilities for all visitors.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail offer resting spots for individuals with limited mobility.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas equipped with accessible tables and seating are available for visitors to enjoy.
6. Wheelchair Accessible Trailhead: The trailhead is designed to accommodate wheelchair users, providing a smooth transition onto the trail.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signage includes Braille translations, ensuring individuals with visual impairments can navigate easily.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are conveniently placed along the trail for hydration needs.
9. Assistance Animals Allowed: Service animals are permitted on the trail to assist individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Trail Experiences: The trail offers various accessible experiences, such as sensory gardens or tactile elements, enhancing the visit for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

When visiting the Robert McClory Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay aware of your surroundings: Always be alert and aware of your surroundings while on the trail. Pay attention to other trail users, wildlife, and any potential hazards.

2. Use designated crossings: When crossing roads or intersections along the trail, use designated crosswalks or pedestrian signals. Look both ways before crossing and obey traffic signals.

3. Share the trail: The Robert McClory Trail is a multi-use trail, so be considerate of other users. Cyclists, walkers, runners, and rollerbladers all share the trail, so be mindful of their presence and give them enough space.

4. Wear appropriate safety gear: If you are cycling, rollerblading, or skateboarding on the trail, wear a helmet and any other necessary protective gear. This will help prevent head injuries in case of a fall or collision.

5. Stay hydrated: Bring enough water with you, especially during hot weather, to stay hydrated throughout your journey. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and other health issues.

6. Use sunscreen and insect repellent: Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen before heading out. Additionally, use insect repellent to prevent bug bites, especially during warmer months.

7. Stay on the trail: It is important to stay on the designated trail and avoid venturing off into unauthorized areas. Straying from the trail can lead to accidents, trespassing, or damage to the environment.

8. Carry identification and emergency contact information: Always carry identification and have emergency contact information readily available. In case of an accident or emergency, this information will be crucial for first responders.

9. Be cautious at road crossings: When approaching road crossings, slow down, look for oncoming traffic, and proceed with caution. Always yield to vehicles and follow traffic rules.

10. Report any suspicious activity: If you notice any suspicious or illegal activity while on the trail, report it to the local authorities or trail management. Your vigilance can help maintain a safe environment for all visitors.

Remember, safety should be a priority when enjoying the Robert McClory Trail. By following these guidelines, you can have a pleasant and secure experience while exploring the trail.

Conservation Notes

The Robert McClory Trail, located in northeastern Illinois, holds a conservation status that is of significant importance for the preservation of natural habitats and biodiversity in the region. As a designated National Recreation Trail, it is recognized for its ecological value and the need to protect its unique features. The trail traverses through diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and meadows, providing a crucial corridor for wildlife movement and supporting a wide array of plant and animal species.

Efforts have been made to ensure the conservation of the Robert McClory Trail and its surrounding areas. Conservation organizations, local communities, and government agencies have collaborated to implement various measures aimed at preserving the trail’s natural resources. These initiatives include habitat restoration projects, invasive species management, and the establishment of protected areas along the trail’s route.

The conservation status of the Robert McClory Trail is closely monitored to assess the effectiveness of these conservation efforts. Regular surveys and studies are conducted to evaluate the health of the ecosystems along the trail and to identify any potential threats or challenges. By closely monitoring the conservation status, stakeholders can make informed decisions and take necessary actions to maintain and enhance the ecological integrity of the trail, ensuring its long-term sustainability for both wildlife and trail users.

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