The Algonquin Road Trail has some very nice sections, provides a good connection between some of the northwest suburbs and has has a great loop around the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve.
The start of the photo tour at Peregrine Park at Peregrine Lake in Palatine
A stretch of sidewalk riding around Harper College
A nice part of the trail branching away from Algonquin Road.
I have seen this trail referred to as the Algonquin Road Trail the Paul Douglas Trail and the Crabtree Bike Trail and this is also the bike trail that goes around Harper College. I am referring to it here primarily as the Algonquin Road Trail but keep in mind the name may change in different sections or if you consider these as separate trails then they all connect.
One of the biggest personal advantages to me (I did say personal advantage...) is that this trail starts in my own neighbor hood (Hunting Ridge in Palatine) and basically goes right through my backyard!!!
I have started the original bike trail photo tour at Peregrine Park (by Peregrine Lake) in Palatine. I'm not sure if this section is officially the same trail, but it connects to the Algonquin Road trail at Euclid where it goes around Harper college.
After going by Harper, around the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve, past Willow Creek Church and Penny Road and through the Crabtree Preserve the trail ends at the Crabtree Nature Center on Palatine Road.
You can also extend your ride into South Barrington along Penny Road if you don't mind riding on narrow 2 lane roads. The roads do not get heavy traffic, and the houses in this area are an attraction in themselves... but the roads are narrow...
One of the nicest things about the trail is the loop that it goes around the outside of Paul Douglas Forest Preserve, which is actually a VERY large forest preserve with very little access into it... I am hoping that the Forest Preserve district will eventually develop the trail into the forest preserve a little more... I think this has great possibilities!
Now that I've given you a lot of the positive points to this trail, I must point out the bad side too... One section of the trail (just west of Harper) runs right alongside very busy Algonquin Road and is not more than a few feet from the road in many places, with no guard rails, fences or much of anything between you and the fast moving traffic. There are also a lot of business entrances on the section just past Harper College. Personally I would skip the section along Algonquin Road between Roselle and Ela if you don't need to go that way and just do the Paul Douglas loop and continue from there as you like.
If you are just going for a medium distance ride then this trail can be a very nice selection... The loop around Paul Douglas is little over 7 miles, is all paved and is a great ride. If you take this trail when it is not too crowded, you will often see quite a few deer and other wild life along the trail.
Algonquin Road Bike Trail Map
I have not found an online map specifically of this bike trail, but you can find a very comprehensive FREE map of Chicago and Northeastern Illinois at FREE Bike Trail Maps Resource - See the IDOT link.
Since the links and maps above change a lot, I am including a photo of the Paul Douglas and Crabtree Trail System MAP that I took at the Grassy Ridge Meadow park.
Here's a photo tour of the Algonquin Road Trail from Peregrine Park (Palatine), around Harper College, northwest along Algonquin Road to Penny Road (South Barrington)... and now through Crabtree to Palatine Road (as of May 2009).
The Algonquin Road Trail Photo Tour - From Peregrine Park in Palatine to Penny Road, South Barrington, Illinois - October, 2006.
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 1 - From Peregrine Park, Palatine
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 2 - Peregrine Lake to Euclid
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 3 - Path Around Harper College
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 4 - Along Algonquin Road to Ela
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 5 - North of Paul Douglas Woods
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 6 - Paul Douglas Woods to Crabtree
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 7 - Algonquin Road to Barrington Road
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 8 - Barrington Road to Penny Road
Algonquin Road Trail Photos 9 - Penny Road and through Crabtree
They have completed the trail on the East, South and West sides on Paul Douglas Forest Preserve in fall of 2008 to make a complete loop around the forest preserve.
I have ridden the new trail quite a few times now and it is almost an additional 5 miles! The loop around the forest preserve is a little over 7 miles. The new section is much nicer than the original section along Algonquin. The only part I don't like about the forest preserve loop is crossing the intersection at Algonquin and Roselle Roads and the short strip along Algonquin Road just west of Roselle before Ela.
The photo tour below is mostly from early spring of 2009. The trail had just been completed but the grass on the shoulders of the trail had not come in yet (it looks greener and nicer now).
Paul Douglas Trail Photos 1 - Starting at Roselle and Algonquin
Paul Douglas Trail Photos 2 - To Grassy Ridge Meadow
Paul Douglas Trail Photos 3 - Grassy Ridge Meadow to Huntington
Paul Douglas Trail Photos 4 - Freeman Road north to Algonquin Rd
One part of this trail has flooded on occasion (in the spring of 2009). Here are some photos of the flooded area. I believe that this has been fixed now.
I noticed that there were a lot of daisies along the path recently (spring 2010) and I photographed some along the west side of the trail.
Here's a video tour of the Algonquin Road Trail from Peregrine Park (Palatine), around Harper College, and including the new extensions around Paul Douglas Forest Preserve and the Crabtree Extension (from May 2009) to the Old Stover trail head on Palatine Road.
The Ride is the Destination