Welcome to the 606.
Welcome to the 606.

Living in a city like Chicago leaves a constant opportunity to explore new places and parts of the city–something I don’t do often enough. And something Ken was relentlessly good at reminding me of. He was a curious explorer who showed me the unending surprises ChiTown has to offer. Whenever I try something new or explore a new place, I think of him. More than that, he’s with me, reminding me to enjoy the journey, ask questions, be creative with my curiosity.

The 606 is the newest—and highest—trail in Chicago. Built on a long-gone freight rail line, the 606 uses about 3 miles of repurposed elevated train tracks to mimic what New York City has done with the High Line. The Rails to Trails conservancy movement has gained great momentum in the past few years, Chicago being one of the most recent beneficiaries with this trail opening up in June of 2015.

The 606 traverses four neighborhoods on the city’s northwest side: Bucktown/Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park. As a northsider who works in the Loop I don’t usually get to any of these ‘hoods, but was excited to see the marvel I’d been hearing about since before it even opened.

And it was incredible.

Under a clear blue sky, it was one of the last beautiful days of autumn to enjoy a leisurely walk and taking in the ample sites offered along the way. It seemed to me that everyone else on the trail–whether walking, running, pushing a stroller or riding a bike–were as delighted to be there as I was. It’s indeed a special place where Chicagoans will no doubt squeeze moments out of every possible day to use and enjoy it. I can’t blame them.

Starting on the east end near Ashland, you’re welcomed by a large park with a circular, inclined loop that embraces you onto the elevated trail. It ends at Ridgeway where you’re greeted by the Exelon Observatory, a kind of sun dial that was really cool, though I couldn’t seem to read it. (Possibly user error?)

The 606 trail is another reason I love this city. And a reminder that I need to explore it more often.

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