Fox Trail is an intermediate level trail. Single track with bridges, log crossings, planks, and small jumps. Short, steep climbs. Clay based, hard packed trail. 95% wooded. Marked with small "Fox" signs in blue.
Go 2 miles from the north edge of Macomb, Illinois on Rt. 67. Turn west on Spring Lake Road (indicated with a brown park sign). Cross county road 1100 E. Take next right, which is Spring Lake entrance. Follow park road to lake. Turn left at T. Park in area near dam. Trail is mapped on sign. Fox Trail starts from grassy area south of dam (near parking lot).
Summary: Spring Lake is a great park. It is the hidden jewel of Macomb. As a student at Western Illinois University, located in Macomb, I ride approximately two miles to get to the park. When you come down the drive to the lake, hang a left to go towards the lot by the dam to get to the trails and trail map. If you hang a right you go toward the boat ramp and the building that houses the rentals, food, and restrooms. The trails are extremely fun. As the other reviews point out, Fox trail is the main and most used trail. Why? Cause it's the most fun! Fox 1 or A Loop is on the left side of the dam and is probably the most fun but is very quick. You can fly through it in and around ten minutes. So go over the dam if you can't cross the stream at the bottom of Black off of Fox 1 and you will go to Deer (which takes you to Rat) and Fox 2 or B Loop. There is also a hiking trail, if you are unsure which trail to take, go onto to Deer and it will get you up to Fox 2. Watch out for deer because nearly every time I ride out, there is a deer or two. Also people tend to walk the mountain bike trails so look ahead and listen to your surroundings (put your MP3 player away). In the fall season, the trail is a beautiful place to be as many of the trees will be one color. As for jumps and obstacles, if you get yourself back on Rat and you are not lost, there are some sweet jumps and downhill sections that let you fly. But first, I recommend going through both Fox 1 and 2 once or twice before visiting Rat. Deer is not exactly flat by any means so watch the ruts. Don't ride for exercise, ride for fun!
Recommended Route: Deer is Beginner. Fox is Intermediate. Rat (Black) is Expert. If you are unsure about your skill level, try out Fox 1, there is trail beside each obstacle allowing you to bypass it if you wish not to do it. Fox 2 can get a beginner into situations they may not want to be in. But there's no better place to learn how to ride than here! I recommend, as always, to ride with someone or a group as some days there are many people riding to days when you are by yourself, know your skill level. Riding in a group is extremely fun at Spring Lake. I have ridden with four others as a group and it was a blast! Basic rules apply, make sure you wear a helmet and gloves are a great idea too. If your bike does not have any suspension I would be extremely cautious. Hardtails work great because of the steep climbs and full suspension bikes are great for the steep downhills and jumps (as in parts of Fox 1 Black, Fox 2, and Rat). Oh and if you like being the first one out in the morning on the trails during Spring and are afraid of spiders and getting covered in spider webs, this is not the place for you. Spring Lake, the hidden gem of Macomb and WIU!
Summary: This is a great trail for anyone who loves trails with a few challenges. I only hit the fox trial both "A" and "B" loops. The "A" loop was a lot of fun and fast with a few good up hill sections. Any time there was a challenge up ahead it gave you a cation sign. Near the end of the "A" loop there is a short "black section" that you can choose to take if you want. After the steep and slow down hill section with two bridges and nice drop at the end stay on the fox trail. The trail then goes down hill...stay off the brakes and hit the jump at a good speed and go flying...and it is so smooth at the right speed. As for the "B" I think we went the wrong direction so it had a lot of up hill section and not very flowing. But i think that was my problem by going the wrong direction on the trail.
Indiana family thanks you guys..for a great trail...
Summary: This trail has got to be one of the best in the area. I have been riding here ever since the trails were being built and I couldnt be happier with the results! There are trails for everyone, though the Fox trail gets the most use. And for good reason, it has a little of eveyting in it, there is no way you can ride this trail and not have a good time. There are weekly group rides and anyone is welcome to join us, I love meeting new riders, becuase you never know what you may learn from them! (Stop by the local bike shop and talk to Mark, he can inform you about trail conditions and what trails to take)
Recommended Route: I recomend starting on the South Fox loop, take the black trail down to below the dam, ride the deer trail up to the Rat, and link back up with the North fox loop and ride all of it. This will give you a nice long ride with PLENTY of challanges (jumps, bridges, steep uphills, etc.) Agian, there is no way you can ride this trail and not come out with a smile on your face. The trails have been cleared recently, but please realize that this trail system is upkept by volunteers only and we do the best we can. Have fun!
Summary: I was in Macomb visiting family and thought I would check out the Spring Lake trails before the others were out of bed. Boy, was that a good decision! I started out on Fox Trail. This one is a gem. It flows great, is maintained well, has plenty of whoop-de-dos and ravines, and is in a great setting in the woods, with some good glimpses of the lake. The trail tread seems to be in good shape. There are many, many stunt and/or bridge structures, which are one of the most fun things about the trail. I really like that most of the stunts fit well into the flow of the trail and not only add a challenge, but serve a purpose on the trail -- getting across a mushy area, bridging the bottom of a ravine, putting you up off the ground between trees that might be too close to ride between at ground level, etc. I especially liked the end-to-end double teeter-totter -- what a great idea! There is a spur or loop (don't know which because it's not on the map and I didn't have time to explore it) called "Black" off the south loop of Fox -- perhaps one of the locals could post some info about it. The Fox trail is marked better than just about any trail I've ridden -- great job Macomb guys, that helps a lot for someone new to the trail like me. Oh, also there is a primitive campsite or 2 out along the trail, so if you want to have a real adventure, bring your tent and make a weekend of it.
After completing both parts of the Fox loop, I took Deer out to get to Rat. I didn't ride all of Deer, so what I'm saying applies only to the portion I rode. Though the meadows were a good change of scenery, I didn't particularly like Deer because it was quite bumpy and very wide. I couldn't tell if the bumps are because it hasn't been ridden much and needs to be packed in or if it's because some of it goes straight down the fall line and may be starting to erode. I wonder if novice riders might actually enjoy Fox more than they would Deer. Perhaps I'll change my tune sometime when I have time to ride the rest of it.
I took the Rat trail when I came to it. It heads down to a creek bottom before taking you on a series of very steep climbs and descents. There are some great g-out deep ravines/hillsides farther into the loop. The Rat trail was quite overgrown and did not appear to see a lot of use. (see below for more)
Recommended Route: (Rat trail continued from above): On Rat, in a few spots I had a difficult time figuring out which way to go. I ended up heading down some dead-end deerpaths that I mistook for the trail. I believe that at some point I unintentionally cut off from the loop. A little additional signing would help unfamiliar riders. The climbs are STEEP and a great challenge; the descents are a scream. I love it! But I hope that these steep parts don't end up becoming erosion headaches.
north on US67 out of Macomb 1 1/2 miles to road N 1500 (brown sign directs you toward Spring Lake); go left (west) on 1500. In ~2 miles turn right at brown park sign; follow the signs to the trailhead. Info board is stocked with maps.
Definitely ride all of Fox. Especially if the undergrowth is cut back, I would highly recommend Rat to anyone wanting a good challenge of your climbing skills and stamina. (No whining from me about the undergrowth; I work on the Comlara trails and know how hard it is to keep everything trimmed, esp. with limited manpower).
Fox aerobic difficulty = 3; rat = 5. Both technical difficulty 4, overall rating 5 -- GREAT TRAILS!
Other recommended trails in the same area: Independence Park (Pekin)
Farmdale Park (East Peoria)
Dirksen Park (Pekin)
Comlara Park (north of Bloomington-Normal)
Jubilee State Park (west of Peoria)
Jim Edgar / Panther Creek (Ashland -- northwest of Springfield)
Summary: As a novice/intermidate rider I found tha the Fox trail at Spring Lake was an excellent course. It provides challenging obstacles that test your skill and bravery as well as enough hill work to work your cardio. I did do a test run on the Advance trail (Rat) and found the first half not to hard, but then was smoked by the short steep up/down hills that hit me at the end. Overall the courses are a great ride and I recommend them to any and all riders in the area.