The 606 Trail

The 606 Trail, or the Bloomingdale Trail, is a former elevated railroad. The railroad used to run on Bloomingdale Ave. until it was elevated due to a Chicago ordinance in 1893 intended to reduce pedestrian fatalities. By the 1980s, freight activity was minimal and by the 1990s any freights still using the track were rerouted.

Nature reclaimed the railroad but in 1997 the concept of converting the unused trail into a bike path was contemplated. In 2002, a linear park plan was proposed. Finally in 2009, a design was selected and construction on the project began in 2013. Renovations were completed in 2015.

This idle but promising space was at last converted by the city of Chicago into a “greenway” (a strip of undeveloped land near an urban area, set aside for recreational use or environmental protection – thanks Google!). The 2.7 mile trail runs above the streets of Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and West Town.

Last week, I ran this trail for the first time. I entered on Rockwell and took the West trail (it was longer from that point). I loved it! It was a nice day as far as February in Chicago goes. I went on a weekday, midday so there weren’t too many people, but the trail is wide enough to share with other runners and cyclists.

I enjoyed running over the streets. I’ve never been on an elevated trail. I saw some awesome graffiti.

I noticed mile markers are well engraved in the pavement. Each vertical (N/S) street is labeled and signs are posted by entry/exit points as well as milage to the end of the trail and other attractions.

I don’t think I’d run in the evening alone (regardless I usually don’t, but I’m not sure how safe the area is or if the park is surveilled but there are many light posts along the trail and cameras). However, I think it’d be beautiful at night because of the lights, so go with a friend! I believe a glow run is hosted every year? That’d be something fun to check out.

I unfortunately don’t have any pictures to share (the image featured isn’t mine).  I didn’t stop during my run to capture any, but it’s industrial and green, a unique mix of city and nature.

If you’re ever in the area visiting and want to get in a quick run, check it out! Just run to Bloomingdale Ave. between Ridgeway (West) and Ashland (East) and you’ll find an entry point (there are 13, 11 are on the North side and 2 on the South side).

A visual would probably be better: The 606 Map.



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