Explore: Chicago’s Clark Park Bike Trail

A hidden gem in Chicago is Clark Park. Mr. Dottie discovered this park while running, tucked behind an awful strip mall-parking lot development. The park includes a baseball field, forest preserve and kayak rental to flow down the river – if you don’t mind the signs warning you not to make skin contact with the water. The best feature of the park is the bike trail, especially the section with “sweet” jumps for mountain and bmx bikers. The area shown below is tucked in the woods and has a secret garden feel to it.

After some Googling, I discovered that the park sits on the grounds of the former Riverview Amusement Park (1904-1967), which for a time was “the world’s largest amusement park, with a massive roller coaster, a double ferris wheel, a tunnel of love, a water slide, a parachute drop, and carnival games of skill and chance, among many other things.” How cool is that? Very. Chicago is full of little treasures like this, waiting to be discovered.

  • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

    I think Clark Park also has a pump track which is appropriate for novices. You kind of pedal to get momentum, and then you rock your body on your bike to get it over the small hills. I’m not sure, because I haven’t been here yet. The Park District opened it last year, I believe. I’m glad they’re diversifying.

  • http://www.portlandize.com Dave

    That reminds me, I really want to get out to Oak’s Amusement Park in Portland with a camera – roller skating rink, carnival rides, game booths along the midway, food, picnic areas – built in 1905. Right along the river, we used to go there all the time as kids, but haven’t gone in quite a while. Easy to get to by bike via the Eastbank Esplanade and then the Springwater Trail. Maybe we’ll have to do that for our bike picnic for the summer games :)

  • http://lovelybike.blogspot.com Lovely Bicycle!

    One thing I like about cycling, is that it’s made us aware of so many local green spots we had no idea existed before. It’s a great way to relate to your city.

  • http://www.mnbicyclecommuter.blogspot.com/ Doug

    Amazing what one can find when traveling at a walking, running or bicycle riding pace. I realize how much I didn’t “see” of my own small world now that I rid myself of my automobile and get everywhere on a bicycle. Some of my favorite rides are the ones that I spend exploring my little corner of this world on my bike.

  • http://www.bikecommuters.com E A

    Love the Riverview stories and photos from my family. There have been some great books and documentaries made about the classic park. Most recently Kiddieland – another gem of an amusement park just out west beyond Oak Park – was closed. So sad.

    I’ll have to explore for Clark Park…

  • http://www.scaredpanda.com Clint

    What a great find, I agree with all the other posters that Chicago has great hidden gems all over the city just waiting to be found. I’ve never been to this park but play soccer very close by at Brands Park. Will be biking over there very soon!