Bicycling Magazine Chicago, IL: Barrington Hill Loop 

Forested country views, lakes, stables, and wide-open roads are only half the fun. This 25.5-mile loop in Barrington is a hilly training route appropriate for riders of every level.

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Author: Bicycling Magazine
Date: 14 Jun 2009 11:18:17 PM
Activity: Bicycling
State: Illinois (IL)
Distance: 25.49 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 381 ft
Total Loss: 375 ft
Net Change: 7 ft
Difficulty: 4 / 10
Tags: Barrington, Chicago, Illinois
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

Just north of Chicago, the countryside around Barrington is a great place to ride. This 25.5-mile loop takes advantage of wide-open roads, scenic countryside, and rolling hills for a route that's a welcome change from the flat riding of most of the Chicago's suburbs.

Though there are several good starting locations, this clockwise loop begins at Barrington High School and spends a few minutes on Barrington's main street before turning south and climbing toward lower-traffic roads on the loop's south side. You'll cut across the Spring Lake Forest Preserve—full of equestrian, hiking, and biking trails—on Penny Road and trace its western edge on the rolling hills of Bateman before cruising east back toward Barrington to close the loop.

Rolling over very quiet roads with little car traffic, this hilly course is only moderately challenging. With gradual climbs, relief changes topping out at less than 150 feet, and few turns on easy-to-follow roads, it's a good choice for riders of all skill levels. To up the ante, consider rounding the loop twice or three times—the hills and scenery will keep you busy, but there are plenty of opportunities to cut it short and head for home, too.

-Mapped by Steve Benni

TO TRAILHEAD: Barrington High School is located at 616 W. Main Street in Barrington, about 38 miles northwest of Chicago.

Position Format: Datum:

Barrington Hills

Distance: 25.49 mi Points: 212
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
# Distance Instruction Distance to next
1 0.16 mi Turn left at W Main St Then go 0.51 mi
2 0.67 mi Turn right at Dundee Ave Then go 0.86 mi
3 1.54 mi Turn right at Otis Rd Then go 2.86 mi
4 4.40 mi Sharp left at Old Sutton Rd Then go 3.15 mi
5 7.55 mi Turn right at W Penny Rd Then go 1.50 mi
6 9.05 mi Turn right at Penny Rd Then go 0.68 mi
7 9.74 mi Turn right at Bateman Rd Then go 3.67 mi
8 13.41 mi Turn right at W County Line Rd Then go 0.24 mi
9 13.64 mi Turn left at Meadow Hill Rd Then go 1.00 mi
10 14.65 mi Turn left at Spring Creek Rd Then go 1.96 mi
11 16.61 mi Turn right at Haegers Bend Rd Then go 1.06 mi
12 17.67 mi Turn right at N River Rd Then go 0.63 mi
13 18.29 mi Continue on Algonquin Rd Then go 1.02 mi
14 19.31 mi Turn right at Plumtree Rd Then go 1.57 mi
15 20.89 mi Turn right at Ridge Rd Then go 0.50 mi
16 21.39 mi Turn left at Merri Oaks Rd Then go 0.72 mi
17 22.10 mi Continue straight onto W Cuba Rd Then go 0.03 mi
18 22.14 mi Turn right at N Buckley Rd Then go 0.76 mi
19 22.89 mi Turn left at Oak Knoll Rd Then go 1.67 mi
20 24.56 mi Oak Knoll Rd turns right and becomes Old Hart Rd Then go 0.50 mi
21 25.06 mi Turn left at W County Line Rd Then go 0.25 mi
22 25.31 mi Make a U-turn at Hart Rd Then go 0.01 mi
23 25.32 mi Turn left at Hart Rd

Points of Interest


Location: 42.156564, -88.150778
Barrington High School is a great starting point for this ride. There is plenty of parking and it's just a few hundred yards north of the route.


Location: 42.154162, -88.150756
County Line Road (also known as Lake Cook Road and Main Street) is one of Barrington's bigger and busier streets. You're not on it for long, but use caution as you ride the four-lane road.


Location: 42.154273, -88.137517
There is a Jewel-Osco grocery store a little past this route on Main. Stop here to fill your water bottles or grab a snack before or after the ride.


Location: 42.153287, -88.136058
There are also two coffee shops nearby (Starbucks and Caribou) if you need some caffeine for fuel or a hot drink to warm up post-ride.


Location: 42.141769, -88.141766
It doesn't take long until you're out of Barrington traffic and on relatively traffic-free country roads.


Location: 42.130376, -88.223991
Though this route does spend some time on Algonquin Road/IL 62, bypass this busier version of the same-name streets in favor of the less-traveled country road on this route's northern edge.


Location: 42.172978, -88.257594
It's barely a climb to the ride's high point, 880 feet above sea level, at mile 16.7. You'll continue rolling over hills as you turn east up ahead. Expect a little more traffic as you approach residential areas en route to Barrington.


Location: 42.187718, -88.228975
It's a long downhill to the ride's low point where the road crosses Spring Creek. You'll bear right onto Plumbtree Road and climb about 100 feet in the next 0.5 mile.


Location: 42.113091, -88.160691
The Crabtree Nature Center in the Cook County Forest Preserve District is an alternative start point. The parking lot is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends and holidays until 5:30 p.m.

Hawthorne Lake

Location: 42.140305, -88.149641
A south-looking view across Hawthorne Lake. © Steve Benni


Location: 42.139159, -88.184659
Another example of the gorgeous homes that line the route. © Steve Benni

Horse Farm

Location: 42.123262, -88.194680
Barrington Hills is famous for stables. This is one of the larger ones in the area and it includes a lot of open land. © Steve Benni

Penny Road Pub

Location: 42.095611, -88.193972
Penny Road Pub is a good place to grab some food and drink after the ride, on weekend nights they have live music, too. © Steve Benni


Location: 42.137457, -88.223691
You'll pick up speed on this downhill cruise headed north on Bateman. © Steve Benni


Location: 42.183250, -88.208070
Enjoy the slight downhill grade on Plumbtree Road as you glide toward a right-hand turn onto Ridge Road. © Steve Benni


Location: 42.183234, -88.205709
Another of the many gorgeous homes that line this route. © Steve Benni


Location: 42.169352, -88.185131
Horse trails weave throughout the neighborhoods in this area, so it is common to see horses alongside the roads. © Steve Benni

Private Lake

Location: 42.165137, -88.174102
Looking south on the eastbound stretch along Oak Knoll Road you'll see this private lake, one of the many in the area. © Steve Benni

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