Leaves and temperatures aren't the only things falling around Chicago-area trails these days. Mountain bikers are falling, too, on frozen puddles, dead branches, and other hazards Mother Nature dishes out this time of year.
In the spirit of fall, we've compiled a list of the Chicago-area's top mountain-bike trails where agility and balance are essential to avoiding a spill. You'll find all the requisite obstacles in each location below, such as rocks, logs, and ruts made all the more menacing by the season's chilly grip.
Arranged by proximity to the Loop, the trails are good for a quick getaway or an overnight road trip. While none are overtly dangerous, they can easily cause injury to both yourself and your bike if you're not prepared. Bring a patch kit and, as always, wear a helmet.
More: I-70 Ride Guide
Tucked away on forest preserve property near Foster and Cicero avenues, LaBagh is the perfect spot for a quickie fix of turns, jumps and fallen logs.
Good for about five miles of riding along the Chicago River, the trail meanders beneath several low-hanging branches and passes through a few shallow ravines. Tricky man-made detours below the Kennedy Expressway and across two sets of railroad tracks complete the package.
Known for 15,000 acres of virtually uninterrupted riding, the Chicago area's mountain-bike Mecca also offers numerous technical challenges along more than 20 miles of trail.
Assorted roots and rocks embellish local hot spots like Three Ravines Trail and Dynamite Road, both of which can be accessed from the Bull Frog Lake parking lot.