Marquette Heights, IL (Near Peoria, about 3 hrs. SE of Chicago)Trail MapTrail Review
The parking lot here is just a row of parallel parking at the exit to a subdivision, reached from a turnaround. When you get out of your vehicle, head back to the turnaround and look left. You'll see an old, chained-off road leading up a hill, which is where about 12 miles of swoopy, twisty, whoop-dee-do singletrack heaven awaits you.
Ride up and look for a dirt trail on your left. You can take this and follow it by going left at any fork/intersection. Eventually, this plan leads you to the residential area bordering the northeast end of the park. You'll have to backtrack a bit into the woods and take another left to keep on the twisty singletrack. If you get into a small BMX area, turn around again and look for another fork to keep going. This is the hardest part of the trail to follow as there is no signage to help you. You should still be able to take a left at intersections, but now you should skip any that lead to the residential area or a wood chip path, until you get to the old road you started on.
For a shorter ride, you can follow the old paved road from your vehicle to where it thins to singletrack and forks at a number of spots. Or, following the original suggested route, bail into the residential area at one of the many exits and take a right at the road to return to your vehicle. You'll miss out on some really sweet rollercoasters if you do though. Take a map and explore - you won't be disappointed.
The diverse topography here guarantees a surprisingly exhilarating ride, with all the things that make a Peoria-area trail worth the trip: dozens of whoop-dee-do's and gobs of quick climbs, fast drops, twisty turns, log ride-overs and more. Some sections will make you want to go back and do them again, like the steep decent onto a narrow wooden bridge where you'll need plenty of speed to get up the other side.