The 2019 trip will begin at 9 AM on Tuesday, May 28 at Buckingham Fountain in downtown Chicago. No one (yet) has volunteered to hike all 210 miles as a thru-hike, so we are planning this year’s hike as a relay with dozens of participants. Please plan to take a day or more to hike, and an evening or more to camp! - or even hang our with us at the campfire before you retire home.
20-Day 2019 Proposed Trip Itinerary
(Start at Buckingham Fountain, then each day starts at 9 AM)
Day; Join us on foot or on a bike, for a little or a lot!:
1. Tuesday, May 28 Buckingham Fountain – Steelworkers Park (12 mi, Camping TBD)
2. May 29 Steelworkers Park – South Tip of William Powers Recreation Area (~8 mi, Camping at Camp Shabbona Woods)
3. May 30 South Tip of William Powers Recreation Area – Camp Shabbona Woods (~7 mi, Burnham Trail, Camping at Camp Shabbona Woods)
4. Friday, May 31 Camp Shabbona Woods – Sweet Woods (~10 mi, North Creek, Camping Shabbona Woods)
5. Saturday, June 1 Sweet Woods – Old Plank Trail (~10 mi, Hike the Heights, Camping Shabbona Woods) – NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
6. Sunday, June 2 Indian Woods/Old Plank Road Trail – Bartel Grassland (~10 mi, Camping at Camp Sullivan)
7. Monday, June 3 Bartel Grassland – St. Mihiel Reservation (~10 mi, Tryner’s Pond, Camping at Camp Sullivan)
8. Tuesday, June 4 St. Mihiel Reservation – Camp Sullivan (~5 mi, Yankee Woods, Camp at Camp Sullivan)
9. June 5 Camp Sullivan – Camp Bullfrog Lake (~15 mi, Camp at Camp Bullfrog Lake)
10. Thursday, June 6 Camp Bullfrog Lake – Salt Creek Trail/W. Jackson Ave. in LaGrange Park (12 mi, Arie Crown Forest, Camping at Camp Bullfrog Lake)
11. Friday, June 7 Salt Creek Trail/W Jackson Ave.– DesPlaines Ave in Forest Park (10 mi, Miller Meadow, Camping TBD). (Sections 1-11, 115 miles)
12. Saturday, June 8 DesPlaines Ave in Forest Park – Catherine Chevalier Woods (~10 mi, Camping TBD)
13. Sunday, June 9 Catherine Chevalier Woods – Camp Pine Woods (11 mi, Camping at Camp Dan Beard)
14. Monday, June 10 Camp Pine Woods – Camp Dan Beard (6 mi, Camping at Camp Dan Beard)
15. Tuesday, June 11 Camp Dan Beard – Old School Forest Preserve (~12 mi, Camping TBD)
16. Wednesday, June 12 Old School Forest Preserve – South Park (Lake Forest) (~10 mi, Middlefork Savannah/Open Lands Assn, Camping TBD)
17. Thursday, June 13 South Park – Ravinia – Chicago River Canoe & Kayak (~10 mi, Chicago Botanic Garden, Camping TBD)
18. Friday, June 14 Chicago River Canoe & Kayak – Thaddeus “Ted” Lechowicz Woods (~10 mi, North Branch, Camping TBD)
19. Saturday, June 15 Thaddeus “Ted” Lechowicz Woods – Aragon Ballroom (~10 mi, Albany Park, Camping TBD)
20. Sunday, June 16 Aragon Ballroom – Buckingham Fountain (~10 mi, Lincoln Park Zoo/Finish)
Board members making some or all of the trip include:
Jay Readey, Community Development Lawyer at Ginsberg Jacobs LLC and Social Entrepreneur;
Molly Fitzgibbon, Outdoor and Environmental Educator
Benjamin Cox, President of Friends of the Forest Preserves
Lauren Umek, PhD. Conservation Biologist
Ismael Cuevas, Chief of Staff for 10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Garza
Emily Leu, Market Coordinator at Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI)
Stanley Jackson, Entrepreneur and CEO of US Tax Squad
We will be tweeting about how you can come find us on the trail to hike, camp with us or deliver magic along the way. Come Hike the Outerbelt!
Most of the Outerbelt is in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, and our friends there are on top of the state of the law on risks in the preserves. By accessing this site and hiking any trails or in any preserves, you should be aware of the following information, since the Outerbelt by definition and inclination seeks to link together primitive and rustic trails in one ring to connect them all:
The Forest Preserves offers a variety of designated trails, all of which present their own unique challenges and, at times, may be considered dangerous. Some designated trails have paved or graded surfaces and are available for multiple uses. Other designated trails are more primitive/rustic and have a natural unpaved surface. Regardless of the type of trail you fancy, caution and care should be taken before and during use of Forest Preserves trails.
In many cases, the weather and the proximity of trees to the trail can impact the user experience. All designated trails are subject to the effects of weather which can result in dangerous conditions including flooding. In addition, trees in close proximity to designated trails are subjected to many factors such as disease, insects, soil moisture, wind, fire, snow and human activities which can create tree/limb fall hazards. While the Forest Preserves seeks to identify and remove dangers posed by hazardous trees, trees without apparent defects are also subject to failure and tree hazards cannot always be identified and mitigated. Users of all designated trails are urged to be mindful of potential hazards including the fact that trees may fall at any time.
The designated primitive/rustic trails are in a more natural state than the trails with paved or graded surfaces, and are not maintained to the same extent as the paved or graded trails. Accordingly, the designated primitive/rustic trails may have uneven or irregular surfaces and may pose heightened danger or hazard to users. Due to the higher potential for danger or hazardous conditions on or along designated primitive/rustic trails, users of those trails do so at their own risk.
In addition to designated paved, graded, and primitive/rustic trails, there are many non-designated trails throughout the Forest Preserves. Such non-designated trails may occur naturally as deer trails or through human foot traffic over time. The Forest Preserves does not encourage, but generally does not prohibit, the use of non-designated trails. Users of such trails, however, should note that the Forest Preserves does not inspect or maintain non-designated trails. Accordingly, hidden and latent dangers, as well as other hazardous conditions, may be encountered on non-designated trails. Users of non-designated trails do so at their own risk and are encouraged to minimize their use of such trails.
Campsites, insurance and support don’t pay for themselves! Your generous donation will fund our mission and support access to the Outdoors.