Opened in 2007, the Major Taylor Trail is a pawsome resource for people and pups looking for a place to enjoy a long walk or bike ride through beautiful natural spaces and forests in Chicago. Like its namesake, it's less well known than it should be, so if you go for walkies at any point along the Major Taylor Trail, you'll enjoy a peaceful experience that will take you away from the crowds.
Marshall "Major" Taylor was one of the best bicycle racers of his day. An African-American competitor in a predominantly white sport, he broke boundaries and pushed back against racism to become a world champion and world record holder in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Murals along the trail attest to his legacy, including one painted in July 2018 on the bridge that crosses the Little Calumet River. To honor its namesake hero and improve the resource for their communities, local residents are pressing for improvements to the trail, especially its southern section, which has fewer amenities like benches, signs, and lighting.
In the meantime, the trail itself is in great shape and a wonderful place to spend a day exploring with your dog, whether you're on foot, roller blades, or a bicycle. The sections in the Dan Ryan and Whistler Woods preserves are ideal if you're looking for a long walk in the woods. In these forests, you can see 300-year-old oak trees and many species of birds and small mammals. Wildflowers grow all along the trail in the warmer seasons. For interesting urban scenery, you can't beat the Beverly Unitarian Church, also known as "The Castle," just a few blocks west of the trail on West 103rd Street.
Walking the entire length of the Major Taylor Trail and back would take an entire
day, though you could cut that in half if someone picked you up on
the other side of the trail. For a shorter walk, you can start from the trailhead in the Dan Ryan
Woods and continue to where the park ends and back for a three-mile
round-trip walk. Human bathrooms are available throughout the Dan Ryan Woods and
parking is available there and at Whistler Woods, as well as trash cans.
You will need to bring your own water and waste bags and clean up after
Spend a day on the Major Taylor Trail with your dog to discover one of Chicago's hidden treasures together.