Best Combination of Urban and Bucolic Scenery

Eggers Grove

Critics' Picks

11200 S. Avenue E

Located near the southeast edge of Chicago, Eggers Grove is a 25-minute drive from downtown—or a more taxing but rewarding 16-mile bike ride, almost entirely on dedicated cycling trails. The Burnham Greenway, a rails-to-trails conversion that would seem like a pastoral escape from urban life if not for the crackling power lines overhead, leads into the Eggers Grove Forest Preserve, formerly known as Nike missile site C-44. (In the picnic area of the park just south of the preserve, a Nike Ajax warhead is on display to commemorate the spot where the antiaircraft missile was kept ready to fire during the cold war.) The 241-acre preserve includes wetlands, savannas, and woodlands, and is a popular place for bird-watching; it's one of the only local wetlands, according to the forest preserve, where Virginia rails nest. To the south of the preserve, jutting out into Wolf Lake atop a levee, is State Line Road, which serves as a dividing line between Illinois and Indiana. It dead-ends after a mile or so, but it's still a nice place to bike—you can watch locals fish from the side of the road and listen to the soothing rumble of semis on the interstate a quarter mile away.