Darien, IL (About 35 min. SW of Chicago)
The Waterfall Glen Preserve surrounds Argonne National Laboratory, making it a unique, doughnut-shaped park. The main trail at Waterfall is essentially an eight-to-ten foot wide crushed limestone path through the center of this greenway. Numerous corridors and trails intersect the main trail, though all singletrack is closed to cycling and frequently patrolled.
A combination of man-made and natural glacial features give Waterfall Glen a little more dynamic topography that most family-friendly paths. Notable sections offer climbs, a long, downhill "S" curve and rolling terrain. The preserve is an excellent venue for novice mountain bikers looking to build confidence and leg muscles. Plus, the trail is a good choice when dirt trail conditions aren't cooperating.
The main trail meanders near several points of interest, including an abandoned plant nursery, a model airplane flying field, and some man-made waterfalls that were bulit by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's. Contrary to popular belief, the preserve was not named after the waterfalls within, but after one of the district's early presidents, Seymore "Bud" Waterfall.
Waterfall Glen is well-used but rarely seems crowded. Expect to encounter a smattering of hikers, joggers and picnickers throughout. While equestrian use is allowed at the preserve, the lack of an adjacent stable keeps horse use to a minimum. In the winter, Waterfall Glen is a popular cross country skiing venue.