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The Green Bay Trail in Illinois - Wilmette to Highland Park

Real Estate Agent with @Properties

The Green Bay Trail in Illinois


The Green Bay Trail is one of the first things I like to tell my clients about because it Green Bay Trailappeals to everyone. It runs alongside the Chicago Metro North Shore Line and whether you run, walk, bike, hike, rollerblade 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 you farther north through residential areas.  

Green Bay Trail

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."

  1. In Kenilworth, you must walk along Abbotsford Road on the east side of Joseph Sears School and pick it up again at Ivy Court.
  2. In Glencoe, at Park Avenue 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 an elevator at the main Winnetka station.) Along the way, you will pass parks, downtowns, train stations, gardens, and native wildflower areas. When you pass through Highland Park, you'll ride right past the main gates of Ravinia.


Green Bay TrailThe trail has been undergoing a metamorphosis as it runs through Glencoe. A local community group The Friends of the Green Bay Trail has 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 Green Bay Trailwinter 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 to stay right and be respectful and careful!



Green Bay Trail in Winnetka

Green Bay Trail in Glencoe



While you're here, please see homes for sale along the Green Bay Trail in:










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Winnetka and North Shore Real Estate Broker
Specializing in homes for sale in Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook, and Evanston.


Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


I just love these "rails to trails" projects that both preserve history and provide a modern recreational amenity. It looks awesome!

Jun 11, 2012 10:18 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Margaret, what a great place to jog or just take a leisurely stroll. The Green Bay Trail Committee did a great job of developing it.


Jun 11, 2012 10:39 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Without these trails, life becomes drab quickly....More trails and more time spent on them produces a better human

Jun 11, 2012 11:25 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Packer Backer - couldn't resist, could you?

Richard - thank you - it is an awesome amenity to have so close by

Michael - The Green Bay Trail Committee developed it back in the 60s, and now it is maintained separately by each village that it passes through.

Corinne - you may not have the trail but you do have lots of open land, and maybe forest preserves?

Richie - agreed - getting closer to nature is an elixer for the busy person


Jun 11, 2012 11:54 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!

I have a client who lives just off the Green Bay Trail, and that was a major part of their decision... they're bikers, and they basically step out of their back yard, onto the trail... the love it.

Jun 12, 2012 12:07 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
That sounds like an ideal path for so many reasons, coveredin the summer, level surfaces, easy access.
Jun 12, 2012 12:20 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Alan - exactly - it really appeals to anyone who likes to do outdoor activities

Morgan - yes, it's very well maintained and smooth for most of the length of it


Jun 12, 2012 12:39 AM
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest

This place is absolutely glorious. I can't wait to visit!

Jun 12, 2012 02:55 AM
Mark Montross
Catamount Realty Group - Burlington, VT
Listing and Buyer Specialist

That sounds like a very nice trail. We have a 13 mile bike path here in Burlington that runs along Lake Champlain that is very popular.  I think you have inspired me to write a blog on it!

Jun 12, 2012 06:37 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Margaret:  I LOVE the descriptions you provide.  Very thorough and enticing, as well.  But got to say, the pics match and surpass your words.  They give real insight into the quality of life along this trail ...


Jun 12, 2012 07:36 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Adam - anytime!

Mark - That sounds like a beautiful trail - you should absolutely write about it.  Take a few long bike trips with your camera and your're all set.

Gene - Thank you! 

Jun 12, 2012 08:00 AM
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

I know the Green Bay trail well.  Nice photos and commentary.  And, Ravinia!  Who doesn't love Ravinia?  It's that time of year!

Jun 12, 2012 12:09 PM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Margaret: I've been near there, in Skokie, it's beautiful country. I see you moved there from L.A. Can't blame you, two totally different lifestyles. Your photos make me want to put on my walking shoes.

Jun 12, 2012 12:19 PM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Carie - I can't remember if you told me you lived here - I'm guessing that is how you know it.  It is that time of year and since it's a short one, everyone is out!

Hella - Skokie also has some trails - the ones that are part of the Cook County Forest Preserves.  I plan to write another post about those.

Jun 12, 2012 12:24 PM
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hi Margaret,

What great pictures!

It is great how we have created trails to get out and walk, or run or bicycle.

We have some wonderful ones in our area as well.


Jun 12, 2012 08:41 PM
Steve and Jan Bachman
RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax - Herndon, VA
Realtors - Northern Virginia

Not only is this post well written it is laid out aesthetically with great photos.

Jun 14, 2012 12:03 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Margaret -- what a great use for this land and a true asset to those communities.   I love the color in the photographs of the open fields -- very nice.

Jun 15, 2012 11:12 AM