Lake Calumet Trail Study

Learn about the vision and join our upcoming virtual open house on Wednesday, September 22 at noon! Register here.

Imagining a new multi-use trail over Lake Calumet

The Active Transportation Alliance and Epstein, on behalf of the Illinois International Port District, studied the feasibility of a multi-use trail over Lake Calumet to better connect local neighborhoods by foot and bike to Big Marsh Park, the Pullman National Monument, and many other destinations on the south side of Chicago.  

The Lake Calumet Trail Feasibility Study kicked-off in the summer of 2020 and received funding through Invest in Cook and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Coastal Management Program. A key objective of the study is to identify a feasible, low-stress trail alignment for the construction of a trail over or around Lake Calumet. 

In September 2021, the project team will be presenting findings and next steps at the CMAP Bicycle Pedestrian Task Force (Sept. 15), the Ford Calumet Environmental Center Opening & Birds, Bikes and Beats (Sept. 18) at Big Marsh Park, and the Lake Calumet Trail Feasibility Study Virtual Open House (Sept. 22).


Study area overview

Lake Calumet is situated at the very southeast end of Chicago. For the purposes of this study, the boundaries of the study area are 103rd Street to the north, Big Marsh Park and Stony Island Avenue to the east, Lake Calumet to the south and the Bishop Ford Expressway (I-94) to the west. 


Community feedback

In order to gather direct input about the Lake Calumet Trail Feasibility, Active Trans conducted a community survey and stakeholder interviews with civic organizations, community groups, local and regional agencies, and elected officials. We spoke to 14 stakeholder groups and heard from nearly 300 community members who took the survey.

The survey and interviews focused on understanding desirable trail amenities, general community benefits, concerns about the trail, and barriers that might prevent people from accessing or using the trail.


Project documents

  • Community and Stakeholder InputStakeholders envision a high-quality, low-stress transportation and recreation facility for walking, bicycling, sightseeing, improved access to open space, natural resources, and the scenic beauty of the Lake Calumet area. 
  • Lake Calumet Trail Feasibility Draft ReportThe study includes existing conditions, design criteria, proposed trail alignments, cost estimates, and funding strategies.  
  • Lake Calumet Trail RenderingsA vision for what a future Lake Calumet Trail could look like. 


Preferred trail alignments


Trail over Lake Calumet renderings


Upcoming events

Ford Calumet Environmental Center Opening & Birds, Bikes, and Beats Event at Big Marsh Park

  • Saturday, September 18, 11 am to 4 pm
  • Birds, Bikes, and Beats is a free, family-focused opportunity presented by Friends of Big Marsh to learn about (and see!) the migratory birds of the Calumet and ride bikes through trails, while listening to live DJs. The event will begin with a ribbon cutting and grand opening of Ford Calumet Environmental Center at 11am. Staff from the Active Transportation Alliance and Epstein will be tabling to showcase the vision for the Lake Calumet Trail project and collect additional community feedback.

Bridging the Gap: Vision for a Lake Calumet Trail Virtual Open House

  • Wednesday, September 22, noon to 1 pm
  • Register here
  • Learn about the vision to build a multi-use trail over Lake Calumet to better connect local neighborhoods by foot and bike to Big Marsh Park, the Pullman National Monument, and many other destinations on the south side of Chicago. Join our virtual open house on 9/22 for an overview of the feasibility study, hear from elected officials, and learn about other nearby initiatives from Friends of Big Marsh, Pullman National Monument, and CMAP.



Alex Perez, Active Transportation Alliance, 

Maggie Czerwinski, Active Transportation Alliance, 

Jim Merrell, Active Transportation Alliance, 

Tim Gustafson, Epstein (Project Consultant),  


Thank you!

A big thank you to the following civic organizations, community groups, agencies, elected officials, and community members who helped shape this study and who are keeping it moving forward: 

  • Calumet Collaborative 
  • Chicago Park District 
  • Chicago Department of Planning and Development
  • Chicago Department of Transportation 
  • Cook County Department of Highways and Transportation 
  • Friends of Big Marsh 
  • Friends of the Major Taylor Trail 
  • Illinois Department of Transportation 
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources 
  • National Parks Conservation Association 
  • Openlands 
  • Pullman Civic Organization
  • Pullman National Monument 
  • South Side Trail Blazers 
  • 10th Ward Office and Alderman Garza 
  • State Representative Smith