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About Us

The Bloomingdale Trail is a 2.7 mile elevated park on Chicago’s Northwest Side.

The trail weaves through four neighborhoods and features native plants, nature trails, public art and a popular path for walkers, joggers and cyclists.

Who We Are

The Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail serve as community stewards and advocates for the Bloomingdale Trail—the heart of the 606 in Chicago, Illinois. Find out more about our history, goals and governance.

Trail History

The Bloomingdale Trail’s history goes all the way back to the Great Chicago Fire. Discover the history of the trail, from its railroad roots through the collective efforts that transformed an industrial relic into the innovative urban amenity it is today.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Where is the Bloomingdale Trail?

The Bloomingdale Trail is on Chicago’s near north side and goes through (and over!) four surrounding neighborhoods: Bucktown, Wicker Park, Humboldt Park and Logan Square. The trail is located at 1800 N. between Armitage Ave. and North Ave. and is bordered by Ridgeway Ave. on the west, Ashland Ave. on the east. Washtenaw St. is the midpoint.

What are the Bloomingdale Trail’s hours?

The Bloomingdale Trail is open daily from 6 am to 11 pm, the same hours as other Chicago Park District parks.

How long, wide and tall is the Bloomingdale Trail Park?

The Bloomingdale Trail Park, from end to end, is 2.74 miles long. The multi-use path that runs through the park is 20 feet wide, including a two-foot-wide, blue, rubberized surface on either side for runners. In certain sections, such as the Damen Arts Plaza and the grassy area at St. Louis Ave, the elevated park widens. The average height of the trail is 18 feet above street level, but it does fluctuate to accommodate accessibility.

How do I get on and off the Bloomingdale Trail?

Since the Bloomingdale Trail Park is elevated you’ll need to enter and exit using the access ramps. There are 12 access points, approximately every quarter of a mile. All of the ramps and the entirety of the trail are ADA compliant.

Can I get to the Bloomingdale Trail on public transportation?

You sure can! The Bloomingdale Trail is accessible by multiple bus lines, including the #73 Armitage bus, the #72 North Ave. bus, and the #82 Kimball/Homan bus. It’s also within walking distance of two Blue Line stations: Damen and Western as well as the Metra stop at Clybourn. Check out the CTA + Metra websites for routes and times. Plan your visit.

What is the relationship between the Bloomingdale Trail and The 606?

The Bloomingdale Trail Park is the official name of the elevated multi-use greenway, including the embankment, multi-use path and all of the plantings. The Bloomingdale Trail plus the existing access parks (Churchill Field Park, Julia de Burgos Park, Walsh Park, Park 567, and the future parks at Ridgeway and Kimball) were given the umbrella name The 606. The Bloomingdale Trail is the heart of The 606, weaving all the different components together.

Why is it called the Bloomingdale Trail?

The Bloomingdale Trail was named for the Bloomingdale rail line, which was in turn named for Bloomingdale Avenue on which it’s built. The street was named for Bloomingdale, Illinois, a small city/suburb to the west of Chicago, which the train led to.

So what, exactly, is a “bloomingdale”? The first part, blooming, is clear—a place full of flowers. The second part, dale, is less part of the American lexicon. It’s an Old English word usually translated as a “shallow valley.” So the name evokes an area with rolling, green hills. In its transformation from rail line to park, the Bloomingdale Trail became what it never was—a blooming dale.

Where did the idea of the Bloomingdale Trail come from?

The Bloomingdale Trail came from multiple points of origin and ultimately became a reality due to a confluence of decades of community organizing and city planning. Starting in the ’90s, neighbors were going up on the embankment to explore, walk, make art, even bike—drawn in by the wild nature that was taking back the Bloomingdale rail line. People started creating their own paths (called “desire lines” in the urban planning world) thus literally laying the groundwork for a future Bloomingdale Trail with their feet.

Inspired by this makeshift trail, a group of bike and pedestrian advocates came together in 2003 to form the Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail (FBT). Their goal was to transform the embankment into a publicly accessible multi-use trail for all to enjoy. The group championed the project for the next decade, ensuring that the original vision for a multi-use trail remained a priority. But the trail appeared in multiple plans going back decades. As early as 1997 a Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Bike Plan supported the idea of transforming the old rail line into an elevated east-west bike corridor. The Logan Square Open Space Plan also recommended the concept and was adopted by the city’s Plan Commission in 2004. Both Palenque LSNA and Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp included the development of the trail in their respective Quality of Life Plans as part of the New Communities Program.

Is the Bloomingdale Trail finished?

Yes, the Bloomingdale Trail is finished. However, future access parks are planned for Kimball Ave and Ridgeway and there are long term plans for the trail to extend to the Chicago River as a connection to the Lincoln Yards Development.

Who designed the Bloomingdale Trail?

The Bloomingdale Trail is the result of years of deep community planning work. Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail hosted design workshops as early as 2007, sketching out ideas for universal accessibility, opportunities for a walking and biking path and a rich palette of plantings to provide much needed green space. Calls for the transformation into a public park were written into the Logan Square and Humboldt Park Quality of Life Plans. In 2011, the Trust for Public Land hosted a community Design Charrette, providing input from a wide variety of stakeholders, including neighbors, business owners, community organizations and city agencies, all who agreed they wanted it to be a “Living Work of Art.” This collective input was organized into a Framework Plan by Carol Ross Barney architects. The landscape design firm Michael Van Valkenberg and Associates (MVVA) was the lead on the project’s design, working closely with Collins Engineering and key city agencies.

How was the Bloomingdale Trail paid for?

Because it included an active walking and bike path, the trail was considered an “alternative transportation corridor” and the $95 million project received two Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, totaling $50 million. The remaining costs came from state, county and city funding sources as well as significant private philanthropy contributions. It has been heralded as an excellent example of a public/private infrastructure investment.

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