Brilliant Stories

Bike Paths to Explore This Spring and Summer in the Champaign-Urbana Area

April 26, 2024

From the historic Kickapoo Rail Trail to adventures waiting for you along farmlands, neighborhoods, and forests, the greater Champaign County area is a hot spot for Midwest bike enthusiasts. Here are a few paths and trails to check out.


Kickapoo Rail Trail bridge

Crossing into the Champaign County area for a 6.7 mile run from Urbana to St. Joseph, the Kickapoo Rail Trail spans nearly 25 miles in total across some of the state's most diverse ecosystems, including woodland, prairie, and wetland. The retired railroad corridor is a great place to bring the bikes for a day of adventure or just a casual stroll. Just start the trail in Urbana at the Main Street Spur and explore all the way to St. Joe for an over 13-mile walk or ride!


Lake of the Woods bike path

Lake of the Woods has so much to offer, from the Museum of the Grand Prairie to some incredible walking and bike paths. The 3.3-mile paved Bicycle/Pedestrian Path stretches the entire length of the preserve, winding through grasslands, prairie, and wooded areas as well as crossing the Sangamon River on the Lake of the Woods Covered Bridge. Hop off the trail for a short visit into the Rayburn-Purnell Woods to break up your adventure.


Paths in Colbert Park

The recently paved path around Colbert Park is as scenic as it is smooth. The ride around the 8-acre lake is quite lovely, and if you plan to stop to explore the spacious lawn, cornhole courts, or playground, you can make an entire day out of a bike trip to Savoy. 


Plane on the tarmac at Chanute Air Force Base

A great place to see some amazing sights and enjoy a great walk or ride are the trails in Rantoul from Glenwood Park just south of W. Grove Ave. and Wheat Ave. just east of W. Liberty Drive. The trail goes through parts of the former Chanute Air Force Base as well as the area's farming communities. At just under 8 miles, the entire stretch of Rantoul trails makes for a great place to explore. 


O'Malley's Alley Trail

For a trail around Champaign, start off on S. Duncan Rd. just south of W. Springfield Ave. to walk or ride the half-mile O'Malley's Alley Trail. While the path itself is somewhat short, you can pick up the paved spur that connects to the trail. Follow it along the east side of Copper Slough, then cross W. Springfield Avenue and head into Kaufman Park, where there's a gravel road you can take all the way around the lake.


Monticello Trails

We get the pleasure of talking about areas beyond Champaign County, including Monticello. The areas where you can ride in Monticello offer a few different experiences. For starters, the Sangamon River Trail runs just over a mile and connects to various parts of Monticello between N. Railroad Street and Green Apple Lane. From the east end of the trail, you can hop on the East Prairie path for an additional mile of riding or head north to see the Railway Museum. While you're in Monticello, you can also explore the trails at Allerton Park & Retreat Center!



It's a great time to try new outdoor activities, and gearing up with a new bike can be a fun way to stay active this Spring! If you have a bike that needs some love, Neutral Cycle is taking appointments for bike drop-offs and pick-ups. This is a great way to get your bike tuned-up and ready to ride! They also offer rentals and sell a wide variety of bikes as well. 

Durst Cycle and Fitness is also a great place to grab a new or new-to-you bike. Their used options are great for finding a vintage ride or something a bit more budget-friendly. They also offer great new options as well, plus rentals and accessories to ensure a smooth ride!


Let's say you're not up for a ride, or maybe someone is coming along who plans to walk. There's great local options for walking gear as well.

When it's time to upgrade, Body N Sole has you covered. From custom fittings to the latest shoes from top brands, the knowledgeable associates at this Illinois Marathon favorite are always ready to assist you in your hunt for new gear. 

Downtown Urbana-based Heel to Toe is another great shop. Originally opened in 1976 at Market Place Mall, the shop stocks a ton of New Balance sneakers as well as casual comfort shoes for walks around the neighborhood. 


Have a path you like to take to explore our community? Let us know what it is on social media by tagging us in some photos from your next ride!

Likewise, keep up with events, news, and information from us on our social media channels. Give us a like or follow on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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