278 acres of open, undisturbed space. Prairie, woodland, marshland and more. Birds, fish, giant crickets and tiny snakes. And you! For this Saturday’s Big Marsh Mashdown. Registration for tours and racing closes Thursday at noon.

While we don’t want to give away all the mysteries of the Marsh, we do want visitors to get a taste of what’s out there. The 1.5 mile off-road course volunteers have created winds through the southern section of the park to let riders experience the site’s diverse terrain. Plan for gravel, dirt, grass and logs. The course is fresh and some sections are loose. You’ll love it.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/Vd_Zra1mtq4[/youtube] Video by Lucas Seibel

The names of the fun, casual races each tell a bit about what’s out there, too…

Slag Cup 

Named for the park’s most prominent feature, the Slag Cup acknowledges the site’s industrial history. Slag is a rocky by-product of steelmaking and signs of it are everywhere at Park No. 564. If you’re wondering if it’s slag, it’s slag.



Shotgun Shell Derby

While more subtle than the slag, shotgun shells litter the site. The space has long been a popular spot for sneaky duck hunters. It won’t take long to spy the colored shells along the Marsh’s shoreline or throughout the park’s prairies.



Monster Marsh

Blink and you might miss it, but a wooded portion of the race course runs past the site’s namesake. The picturesque marsh is home to wildlife and phase 1 of park restoration includes a boat launch and improved fishing access.


What else is out there? Some great berms, a few simple roots, and some short, steep elevation changes. Check out the photos of volunteers working on the course for more clues. And while you’re exploring the park yourself, remember to share your discoveries of #whatsoutthere.

To learn more about the park, visit bigmarshchicago.com. Donate to Friends of Big Marsh here.

Pre-registration closes at 12:00PM CT on Thursday, October 16!

  1. […] 30 minutes before your race. Day-of registration will be available as space allows. This is an any-off-road-bike race course, keeping in the spirit of Big Marsh Bike Park being designed for a variety of off-road bicycles. […]