Cal-Sag Trail

The 26-mile Cal-Sag Trail extends along the Calumet-Saganashkee Channel and Little Calumet River from Illinois Route 83 near Lemont to the Burnham Greenway near the Indiana border. It did not always look like it does now, however. In fact, there was not even a waterway to bike or run alongside of about a century ago.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) began constructing the Calumet-Sag Channel in 1911 and completed it in 1922. Then from 1959 through 1965, the MWRD widened it from 60 feet to as wide as 250 feet. In the process of expanding the channel, the MWRD acquired significant swaths of land on both sides of the canal. While some of that land was ultimately utilized for industrial purposes, the MWRD sought a way to provide recreational opportunities for this land through the creation of the Cal-Sag Trail. On June 6, 2015, officials formally opened the western half of the Cal-Sag Trail, for which the MWRD dedicated approximately half of the land on which the trail was built.

In 2005, the Calumet-Sag Trail Coalition was formed and led the vision to build the multi-use trail. By 2009, the Coalition received engineering funds for development of the trail, which spurred the formation of a support group, the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail. Although the trail has been more than 10 years in the making, area planning maps from as far back as the 1970s promoted a multi-use path along the waterway. The trail was eventually made possible thanks to federal and state contributions, MWRD and Cook County Forest Preserve land and extensive community outreach and fundraising efforts from local municipalities, Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail and other local organizations.

The 13-mile western leg of the Cal-Sag Trail runs along the Cal-Sag Channel from Archer Avenue and Route 83 on the west end to 131st Street and Cicero Avenue in Alsip on the east. Much of it runs through Cook County Forest Preserves, and it connects with several existing bike trails in the forest preserve system. Several of the communities the trail runs through lease land from the MWRD at a nominal fee. The trail's eastern segment, Cicero Avenue to the Burnham Greenway, is tentatively scheduled to open in 2017.

When totally complete, the trail will connect 14 communities and more than 185,000 people who live within a mile from the trail. More than 1.2 million people live within a 15 minute drive of the Cal-Sag Trail. The trail will preserve and enhance the natural and historical qualities of the channel and Calumet River, it will provide an accessible opportunity for recreation and healthy lifestyles.

To learn more, visit:

To see map and photos, click here.

Please email questions and comments to or write to Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Office of Public Affairs, 100 E. Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60611.

Press releases and advisories:

Highly anticipated Cal-Sag Trail connects Southland to waterways

Southland leaders break ground on Cal-Sag Trail