Get ready for the upcoming mountain bike season


Aiden Meredith

Aiden Meredith doing a wheelie

Diego Marquez, Staff Writer

While Illinois may not have towering peaks or vast mountain ranges, it still offers plenty of exciting opportunities for mountain bikers to explore. Mountain biking is a thrilling and challenging sport that requires riders to navigate through rough terrain, steep hills, and narrow trails. 

For senior Aiden Meredith, Illinois has always been an amazing state to ride, especially for beginners who want to introduce themselves into the community.

“Mountain biking has always been very fun to me because it’s connected me with nature in a thrilling way. Nothing beats riding trails through the woods on a summer day, it almost feels like you’re floating through the forest,” Meredith said.

As the season approaches, many parks and recreation areas throughout Illinois are preparing for mountain bikers. Some parks have even added new trails or expanded existing ones to accommodate the growing number of mountain bikers.

From hills in Wisconsin like Alpine Valley, to the rugged terrain of the many parks in Chicagoland like the Palos Trail System; the Chicagoland area has plenty of options for riders seeking a challenge. The most popular destinations for mountain bikers in the area are the Keith Andres Trails and the Matthiessen State Park.

“I am pretty optimistic for this season as I now have the  freedom to drive out to multiple places that I have been wanting to try. There are a lot of really good bike parks with jumps and other features, but I am most excited about visiting trails at the Palos Forest Reserve,” another mountain biker, senior Robert Montanez said.

The Palos Trail System, located just southwest of Chicago, is one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in Illinois. The trails offer a range of difficulty levels, from easy beginner trails to some intermediate trails. The park has recently undergone renovations, including the addition of new trails and improved signage. Not to mention, Palos has installed a bike wash station, making it easier for riders to clean their bikes after a day of riding.

Matthiessen State Park, located in LaSalle County, offers a unique mountain biking experience. The park features a series of canyons and waterfalls, providing riders with stunning scenery as they navigate the trails. The park has recently completed many trail improvements, including the addition of new signage and trail reroutes. Matthiessen State Park is a great destination for riders looking for a scenic and challenging ride.

Riders can expect a fantastic season this year. Whether you are a beginner or an expert rider, there is no shortage of trails in Illinois that will test your skills and provide an unforgettable experience.

“The community of mountain bikers, and trail builders is one of a kind. Taking a break from my busy typical life and surrounding myself with like minded people is not only refreshing but a great way to spend my time,” Meredith said.