The paved Interurban Trail, which travels north more than 8 miles from Chatham to the Illinois state capital of Springfield along the old interurban electric rail line, provides a pleasant mix of suburban and rural scenery. The Interurban is a wonderful example of a rail-with-trailtrain and trail traffic share the corridor. The trail serves as a great commuter route for people heading in and out of Springfield, which is home to more than 110,000 residents.
Near the southern end of the trail, history buffs will enjoy the Chatham Railroad Museum, housed in a 1902 train station and offering a plethora of artifacts, photos and documents on display. The trail continues among standard suburban surroundings, but a certain amount of serenity not found in the suburbs prevails along this route. Just north of Chatham, the trail skirts along a paved golf cart path, as it winds through the manicured greens and fairways of a beautiful golf course. Only 0.25 mile beyond the golf course is a highlight of the Interurban Trail: Lake Springfield. The lake is visible from the Interurban but don't be fooled by the terrain. What looks like a small amount of water from ground level is actually a vast, 4,200-acre reservoir that supplies water to residents of Springfield and surrounding areas all year.
Beyond Lake Springfield, the trail offers views of the rural landscape dominated by fields of corn, though this setting is fleeting. I-72 looms ahead, reminding you of the city yet to come, and as the trail comes to a close in Springfield, people and neighborhoods become more prevalent. A small oasis from the bustle of suburban and city life, the Interurban Trail is exactly the kind of useful and pleasant link you expect from a rail-trail.
To access the trail in Chatham: from I-72, take State Route 4 (Veterans Parkway) south for approximately 4 miles and turn left onto East Walnut Street. Go one block to North State Street and park in the lot on the southeast corner.
To access the trail in Springfield: from I-72, take MacArthur Boulevard north to Junction Circle/West North Street. Turn left and proceed two blocks to South Park Avenue. Proceed straight through the intersection; parking is 200 feet ahead, on the right.
It's all flat, except for a stretch in Springfield where there's a big hill to go up and down. We parked at the big Scheels store in Springfield where there is ample parking, restrooms and restaurant. There's a sidewalk connection to catch the trail about ...
The trail is nice and scenic. The path has been modified due to the MacArthur extension to I-72, it's now routed across the street and behind Scheels. There is parking in Chatham at the south end of the trail, a small lot is provided directly across the ...
As my wife and I are beginners, this trail was excellent. We didn't make it all the way to Chatham because "one" particular hill was a monster. We will keep doing it until it becomes second nature.