Local mountain bikers have come up with their own trail names, separate from the official ones on the park district's trail map. This can lead to come confusion when comparing routes online. To make things more difficult, trails sometimes diverge from the official map, particularly around the southern convergence of the Red, Yellow, and Blue Trail
. GPX tracks shown on Adventure Project's sites are accurate, and the wrong course won't take visitors far anyway. It's a small park.
Sundown Lane, the road used to access the park, is lined with a number of private residences. Please keep your speed and noise levels down when visiting.
Canoes and kayaks can take advantage of the small boat launch at the northern parking area.
The marsh and river are home to hoards of mosquitos in the warmer months. Come prepared.
The Red Trail could be considered the "middle of the road" trail in Saw Wee Kee Park in terms of length, difficulty, and makeup. The northern end branches off not far from the beginning of the Blue Trail
at a marked intersection. Yellow Trail
splits off to the left shortly afterwards, and Red Trail heads off on its own, making a few twists before eventually paralleling Sundown Lane. The well maintained dirt singletrack is easy to manage.
The path gently rolls, making it a little more interesting than some of the park's flatter trails. The road is occasionally visible to the west, and a few connectors provide access to parking areas. On the other side, a couple of short branches provide alternate paths, reconnecting with the main route after a few hundred feet.
Not long after the half mile point, Red Trail comes to an area used by local mountain bikers as a small terrain park. It can get confusing here, as the trail doesn't resemble the official map at all and markers often conflict with each other (or don't exist). Follow the GPX track provided here to loop around the area, or stay right to take the more direct route. The short mountain bike segments, which feature some quick drops and turns, are not mapped here as pedestrians should remain clear in the interest of visibility and safety.
After Red White Shortcut
and Red Trail rejoin on the southern side of this area, it's only a stone's throw to the end of the trail. If your route joins the trail here and heads north, stay west is the best way to circumnavigate the mountain bike area.
Acquired from the State of Illinois in 1963, this former strip mine has been converted into a natural area. Adjacent to the Fox River, the park features shady woodlands and marshy wetlands. Animals typical to the area can be seen -- badgers, cottontail rabbits, deer -- and bald eagles have been spotted. On the less desirable side, the park asks visitors to check their shoes and gear for invasive plant seeds before leaving. Buckthorn, multiflora rose, garlic mustard, and reed canary are all called out by the park district as problematic species.