Did you know the Peoria Area is home to one of the largest networks of mountain bike trails in the entire state? Here are 3 great rides for peddle connoisseurs:
Bike Your Way Through Oz
A quick trip out to the Peoria Park District’s Kinsey Park will transport you to a series of hiking and mountain biking trails, rated from beginner to expert, all of which are named after scenes from the Wizard of Oz. You can ride on the Yellow Brick Road, rip down Flying Monkeys, visit the Land of Oz and ride along with the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow, plus many others.
Fun Detail: The trails have been created, maintained and expanded with the help of volunteers from the Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association (PAMBA). Grab a shovel! PAMBA maintains and expands these trails every Tuesday throughout the summer and fall. Volunteers are welcome!
Biking Out In The Wild!
To tackle some of the more challenging mountain bike trails in the Peoria Area, explore Wildlife Prairie Park, just a short 2.5 miles from the Oz trails at Kinsey Park. This private parkland is accessible with a day pass ($9) or an annual membership. They are rated similar to ski slopes, with green circle signs being easy, blue squares being more moderate, and black diamond being expert—there are even a few double black diamond trails.
Fun Detail: If staying at the facility, check out the easier trails on the east side, which are accessible only during business hours, and the west side’s more challenging terrain is operational from dawn to dusk.
Biking The Historic Rock Island Trail
The Rock Island Trail is a relatively flat and easy railway to trail conversion that starts in downtown Peoria, near the Gateway Building, and follows the Peoria Greenway (Peoria Park District black top/maintained pathway) 13 miles all the way up to the small enclave of Alta. There, the blacktop officially turns into the Rock Island Trail, which is an additional 26 mile section of crushed smooth limestone that cuts through the towns of Dunlap, Peoria Heights, Princeville, Wyoming and terminates in Toulon. This easy to peddle route is perfect for all ages, bike styles, and fitness levels. The route provides an opportunity for various quick stops for refreshments and rests, particularly on the southern half of the route.
Fun Detail: Originally built as a railroad in 1869, it continued to run trains from 1871 to 1963. It sat unused until it became a public trail in 1989.