The MCT Quercus Grove Trail begins in Edwardsville at its junction with the MCT Nickel Plate Trail. It begins on city sidewalks and alleys near Edwardsville's historic downtown area and very quickly looses itself in the dense tree cover of the old rail line. The entire trail is nearly flat, except at Old Carpenter Road in Edwardsville, where the old rail trestle bridge was removed and the trail now plunges about 50 feet from its elevation on either side.
Leaving Edwardsville, the rail-trail alignment closely parallels Old US Route 66 (now State Route 157), and the woodlands view gives way more and more to open farmland. The trail and route diverge gradually until Jerusalem Road, where the trail leaves its rail alignment to go east and follow alongside the route all the way to Hamel—a quintessential Old Route 66 village that now celebrates its connection with the Mother Road. It's a great place to rest and look around a bit, and it's very close to the half way mark for the trail.
On the north edge of Hamel, the trail and Old Route 66 diverge again as the trail continues on to the village of Worden, where it once again becomes a rail-trail along its original rail alignment. Then at Spangle Road, it crosses to an active rail-with-trail alignment that again crosses Old Route 66 (now State Route 4), before continuing on to trail's end in Staunton.
The rail-trail sections of the Quercus Grove Trail are along alignments of the old Illinois Traction System (Illinois Terminal Railroad) of electric trains which once connected St. Louis, MO, to Springfield, IL. Various other MCT Trails are also on sections of this old rail network—as are the McKinley Bridge Bikeway, Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail and Interurban Trail.
There is official trail parking at these locations:
- Edwardsville Station Park & Ride Lot, 0.5 mile from trail
- Old Carpenter Road (Edwardsville), trailside
- Hamel Community Park (Hamel) on alternate route through village
- Worden Heritage Park (Worden), trailside
- South Watertower Park (Staunton), trailside
Rail-trails are always fun to ride. Especially this one that's along sections of the old and storied Route 66, as well. Hamel is a must-stop along the trail. Lots of signs and businesses celebrating an older day, an older way of living. On the rail-trail, ...
The info on the website is incorrect. The trail does not end at Hazel Road, but rather extends another 2.7 miles northeast to Jerusalem Road. Taking Jerusalem Rd. east for .8 miles will get you to the trail extension heading northeast all the way to Staunton ...