In the southwest suburbs of Chicago, you will find one of the most historic riding trails of that area, the Calumet Saganashkee Trail aka the Cal-Sag Trail.
The trail currently runs 13 miles from Lemont to Crestwood. Once the eastern portion of the trail is complete, it will go a full 26 miles through many towns winding along the Cal-Sag channel, all the way to the Burnham Greenway trail near Burnham, IL. Friends of the Cal-Sag are keeping updates on this construction and bids will begin to be accepted this month of August 2020.
Let’s hope it’s completed soon!
Parking & Terrain
There are several spots to park along the trail. For this ride, I parked at Teason’s Woods and rode east to the end of the trail in Lemont, where I found an empty parking lot! Teason’s is a busier lot but if you find the spots are full, you can park along the entry lane; just be sure to hug the sides and leave a very wide clear path for others to get in and out. If both the lot and side curb are full, a secret spot to park is behind Fuller’s Car Wash in Palos Heights, it’s just a three minute car ride from Teason’s. The trail picks up right in front of it and there is a big open lot right behind where you can park.
Once on the path, you have a great paved trail through woods, grasslands, open fields and marshlands. This is the perfect trail to take after a rain because you don’t have to worry about the mud and unsavory conditions that the rain can cause on a regular trail in the forest preserves.
Feel free to take your road bike, roller blades, or ripstick!
Cal – Sag Channel
The Cal-Sag channel was built from 1911-1922 to serve as a navigation canal between the Little Calumet River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The Channel itself is 16 miles long and once complete, the trail will run a full 26 miles.
For you history buffs, here’s a 1917 shot of the construction for the Cal Sag Channel in Blue Island, Illinois. This picture is looking SW from the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad showing the Western Avenue Bridge, pulling horses, suspenders and a couple of fedoras.
The word Saganashkee was named after the Saganashkee Slough. This is the largest body of water in the Palos Cook County area forest preserves.
Now a beautiful body of water cleaned up by the Forest Preserve, the slough was a huge swamp that extended from west of 104th Avenue to the limits of Blue Island. As told in 1940 by Cap Sauer, a former Forest Preserve District general superintendent, the original name of Ausaganashkee is a Potawatomi Indian word that means “slush of the earth.” He’s remembered fondly by the Forest Preserve and has his own area just south of the Saganashkee Slough, the Cap Sauers Holding Nature Reserve, named after him.
From Teason’s Woods to the beginning of the trail is a 6 mile route, so the full ride there and back was 12 miles. This took about an hour and a half to complete with a short stop mid-point. It’s a GREAT RIDE! If you live around there – take advantage of it, if you don’t – come and visit!
As for my normal M. O., here’s a short film of the trail where you can see the landscape firsthand.
Hope you enjoy!