Taking Back Schubert & Sauk Trail Woods

I know that the Schubert & Sauk Trail woods have a poor reputation due to circumstances beyond their control.  But I have now ran the area 2x and I am telling you it is not only a safe area but also one of the best trails we have in this area.  I was amazed today with the beauty and old world feel of this trail.  There are old bridges made of stone and railings of iron that we just don’t see on our normal trail runs.  This trail is one to be seen and enjoyed by the public.

I have started both times at the spur that begins on Chestnut Street, off of Western Ave just north of Sauk Trail, since that is where the Pancakers begin on Sunday mornings.

I love that I get to conquer a nice hill as soon as I get out of the car!

Each time out, although I fail to arrive on time, I have seen a few Pancakers on the trail and my new friend Alexis.  I saw her in the distance today and had to run a few tangents, and speed up to a pace much faster than I “wanted” to run to get close enough to shout her name.  But it was worth it, we talked and ran a short bit together before she had to turn off toward home.  She did kindly oblige my photo request before we parted.  Thanks, Alexis!  Good to see you again!

After Alexis dropped me headed for home,  I slowed down to a more leisurely pace and grabbed some photos that I didn’t have the opportunity to take last time.   These are all from “The Shoot”, the spur that crosses Sauk Trail at Ashland, runs southwest for 1.5 miles, then makes a u-turn at Steger Road & Western for a return to the loop.

Love the moss on the trail!

The noisiest creature on the trail.

Second noisiest creature.

Back on the main loop, which is 4 miles in distance, I saw lots of runners & walkers out enjoying the day!  Here is a pic of Sauk Trail Lake from the trail.

Cute little stone bridge over a stream.

Today was a very peaceful run and I really enjoyed it.  Although, I enjoy these quiet trails with low traffic, I really feel as if this trail is under utilized due to its reputation.  The trail is safe.  It’s beautiful.  It’s the perfect length with both a 7 and/or 4 mile option.  Let’s run this trail together!  I’m going to set up an event thru Facebook for next Sunday, April 15th, 7:45 am to run Schubert & Sauk Trail Woods as a group.  Let’s take this trail back and enjoy some of our tax dollars!  If you don’t get a FB invite (because we aren’t friends), then please feel free to show up at the Chestnut entrance to the Thorn Creek Bicycle Trail (south), in Park Forest at 7:45 to join us for a run.  If you can’t run, then bring a bike, it’s worth the trip!

See you next Sunday!

Happy Running,                                                                                                      Amanda – TooTallFritz

10 thoughts on “Taking Back Schubert & Sauk Trail Woods

  1. TTF…glad you are promoting this place cause it is really nice and kudos to CCFPD for finally getting the trail re-surfaced. This is the site where the Pancakers used to hold their 4.05-mi “Progressive” runs as part of the “Progressive Marathon.” Someday…hope they can revise that series of races again, and if I interpret correctly, that was part of the impetus to create the Turtle Ten at Hickory Creek FP.

    As fodder, Sauk Trail/Shcubert Woods is really just a part of the pre-settlement/historic Thorn Creek Woods…thousands of acres of forest surrounded by prairie. The rolling terrain, is in part ground moraine behind the Westmont termimal moraine which crests further South at Old Monee Road and University Parkway.

    The creek you mention has to be Thorn Creek, and the lake is really a reservoir created back in the 20-3O’s by damming Thorn Creek at 26th St. I have to pay more attention cause you mention a cute little “stone” bridge and I guess that would be where the trail heads down into the valley of Thorn Creek and then you trounce up a pretty stiff ascent, that on the 4.05 progressive runs really breaks a lot of runner’s psyche as they head towards the last mile of the race. Not absolutely sure, but if that stone bridge you mention is constructed of quarried limestone, it might have been constructed in the early 30’s as part of the WPA. CCFPD have picnic shelters in places constructed of limestone with huge fireplaces that were built during the depression under the WPA to put people back to work. Have to look more into that.

    And, when you run the East-side of that woods (King’s Rd/Ashland), it sort of levels and pans out, and there is a reason for that…it is a glacial lake basin, impounded at the front-edge of the Tinley Moraine further East in Chicago Heights, and sometimes referred to in the literature as “Glacial Lake Steger.”

    Been a while since I have been at Sauk/Schubert and most of the time running, not paying attention to some of the attributes you mention. Now that you mention some of them…gonna have to give another look at those obs you made and verify if that bridge is a WPA artifact!

    Sorry for the diatribe, but just trying to offer another perspective of that terrain you just ran on, but you got the right feeling….awesome!

  2. I have a bachelorette party the night before so I’m pretty so I won’t be in any shape for running early on Sunday morning (and I might not be home yet). Hopefully everyone loves this trail so much and there will be more group runs in my neck of the woods … pun intended! 🙂

  3. It looks beautiful!! I would be interested in the run! I have my 20-miler the day before, would anyone be willing to pull me in a little wagon, just in case? 😀

    • Should I bring the jogging stroller? LOL! I will be running the 7 mile loop & shoot but if you just wanted to run the loop, it is 4 miles. Not sure how many will be doing the 4 mile option. Message me if you need better directions.

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  7. I enjoyed your article but am very curious… I grew up in South Chicago Heights and my friends and I explored those woods as thoroughly as anyone else ever has. We were out there constantly, “hiking” the trails in summer heat and in ice and snow, also ice skating or wind sledding on the lake. I moved to Texas shortly after graduating from Bloom THS in 1972 and have only gone back rhere once, stopping by on the way to Chicago and quickly driving around my old stomping grounds to show my Texas born and raised wife the place where I grew up. That little visit was on a fully moon lit snowy night, and she, having never seen snow in her life, was fascinated when I proved to her that people can read a newspaper on such a night without a light. (Her other memorable comment was, holding her coat tight around her, “It’s so cold! How can anybody live here?!!!”) Anyway, finally to the point of my comment: what is this “bad reputation” you speak of? After 47 years of living in places far from there, I know very little about The Heights now.

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