The Green Bay Trail is one of the first things I like to tell my clients about because it appeals to everyone. It runs alongside the Chicago Metro North Shore Line and whether you run, walk, bike, hike, roller blade or just meander, you will enjoy the ride.
The land was originally the old right-of-way for the North Shore Railroad (some of its pillars can still be seen along the trail.) The villages along it - Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka,Glencoe and Highland Park bought the land and leased it to the Green Bay Trail Committee which developed it.
It runs almost 10 miles in a straight line beginning at the Wilmette Fire Station on Lake Avenue just east of Green Bay Road in Wilmette. Heading north the official paved trail ends in Highland Park but sign markers will take your farther north through residential areas.
Almost the entire trail is paved and if it's not, it is dirt or crushed stone. There are several short breaks in the trail where users must navigate "off trail"
- In Kenilworth, you must walk along Abbotsford Road on the east side of Joseph Sears school and pick it up again at Ivy Court.
- In Glencoe at Park Avenue, your go along Old Green Bay Road about 3/4 of a mile until the trail picks up again.
Other than those two spots, it's a breeze. The trail is handicap accessible (there is even an elevator at the main Winnetka station.) Along the way you will pass parks, downtowns, train stations, gardens, native wildflower areas. When you pass through Highland Park, you will go right past the main gates of Ravinia.
The trail has been undergoing a metamorphosis as it runs through Glencoe. A local community group The Friends of the Green Bay Trail have been tirelessly removing buckthorn and other invasives and replacing them with native prairie plants. They are always looking for volunteers and I've spent many beautiful Saturday mornings helping out this great group of people. (Photo at left shows a section cleared of buckthorn.)
The Green Bay Trail is a tree-shaded wonder in the summer months and parts of it are even plowed in the winter for cross-country skiing. There is easy access to it at all the train stations and many other spots along the way. In Winnetka, Loving Care Grooming and Boarding provides free plastic bags to help you pick up after pooch.
The only things to remember are stay right and be respectful and careful!
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Margaret Goss is a full-time real estate broker since 1998 working in the North Shore communities of Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Northfield, Glenview, and Evanston.
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