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Vacation Close To Home With These 5 Biking Trails in Peoria, Illinois

Updated on June 3, 2008
Photo: moneydick,Flickr
Photo: moneydick,Flickr
 

Midwest vacation destinations are hot this year, thanks in part to rising gas prices which in turn have pushed airline tickets out of the budgets for many family vacations. Midwest family vacation options offer a lot of natural beauty as well as attractions, depending on where you decide to travel. Midwest destinations tend to be family friendly and some places to visit in the Midwest are as educational as they are recreational. If your travels take you to Peoria, Illinois this year, be sure to take advantage of the great biking trails. Here are five of the best.

No Baloney Cruise, Peoria

This road biking trip proves that Illinois is far from flat. The twisting valleys that feed into Illinois River host the annual No Baloney Ride on the first weekend in June. The race includes 25, 75, and 100 mile options. But you can follow the routes anytime. The ride begins at Wildlife Prairie Park, a living tribute to pioneer life and native plants and animals. Riders are treated to herds of buffalo and elk, which can be seen from an overlook near the visitor center. After your ride, take a 2-mile hike past black bears, cougars, bobcats, wolves, coyotes, and foxes.

Rock Island State Trail, Peoria

Rock Island offers another road biking experience It's an easy ride through farm country, where even the slowest moving things can be satisfying with the right attitude. Don't go too slow, though, because this trail closes at sundown. One-way covers over 30 miles of mostly dirt and limestone.

Farmdale Recreation Area, Peoria

For mountain biking, head east out of Peoria about ten minutes. Farmdale Recreation Area offers an easy, family-friendly ride on the dirt roads crossing through the low-lying areas. More adventurous souls can turn off the roads onto any dirt trail for a narrower, more difficult, climbing course. Altogether there are about ten miles of trails to ride. Beware: on the easier paths you'll still encounter some challenges. Watch out for three major creek crossings.

Rock Island Trail, Alta

For more mountain biking thrills, head out to Alta for a ride on the Rock Island Trail. Get ready for 52 miles (round trip) of this crushed limestone trail. The tree-lined trail wanders through farmlands, prairie grass, and wildflowers. It's a great weekend ride for families. There are some nice bridges, including one trestle bridge crossing the spoon River between Wyoming and Toulon. Refreshments are available in all five towns the trail passes. Stop in one or all: Alta, Dunlap, Princeville, Wyoming, and Toulon.

Jubilee College State Park, Brimfield

Slightly northwest of Peoria, just off Interstate 74 in Brimfield, you'll find this mountain biking dream with over 40 miles of dirt and grass loop trails. You'll find a good mix of uphill and downhill sections, as well as some challenging creek and gully crossings. Some of the bridges don't have railings, so take care with younger kids. Other than that, the trails are wide and well maintained. There's not much deadfall or rocks to pose obstacles for little bikers.

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