The 22-mile Old Plank Road Trail travels over the original Michigan Central Rail Road (MCRR) line, a railroad started about 1850 that ran from Lake Station in East Gary to Joliet. The rail was nicknamed the "Joliet Cut-Off" because it enabled trains to skip Chicago.
The trail starts in Park Forest and travels west, alternating between secluded, quiet sections and suburbs. The trail continues through Richton Park, Frankfort, New Lenox and finally ends on the eastern edge of Joliet. At mile 9.75, the trail reaches the award-winning Arrowhead suspension bridge, which takes you over US 45.
Originally a Native American transportation corridor, the route was used occasionally by traders, trappers and missionaries. Later, European settlers used the pathway to find their own homesteads. Today, the oncoming traffic is more likely to be a pack of retired cyclists zipping by, or parents with strollers.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Western Avenue trailhead in Park Forest, take US 30 the Western Avenue Exit and follow Western Avenue south for about 0.5 mile. The trailhead is on the right.
To reach the Joliet trailhead, take Interstate 80 to the east side of Joliet and exit at S. Briggs Street. Follow S. Briggs north to E. Washington Street and travel west. Just over 1.5 miles, the trailhead is on the right.
Great, Easy Going Ride
This is an Awesome Trail for an easy, non-stressful ride.
It is consistently flat and not technically difficult to find or ride. The distance is what gives you the workout.
My only suggestion would be to not park your car at the Trailhead on North Street ...
One of my favs in the area
An excellent stretch of mostly straight trail. Incredible scenery, and one of the few patches of natural land that can be found in this area.
I've gone on mostly off times and had no issues with crowding. There are some fast cyclists who frequent this ...
I started going there a few weeks ago with a friend early in the morning on Sunday. We were yelled at twice by people taking it Way Too Seriously for a "family friendly" local trail! If you want to hardcore train...then do it somewhere where they don't ...