The first 5.5-mile segment of the 38-mile Sangamon Valley Trail opened in summer 2011 and runs between Centennial Park and Stuart Park in Springfield. When complete, the Sangamon Valley Trail will link Girard and Athens, as well as the towns between. The trail follows an abadoned right-of-way of the old St. Louis, Peoria and North Western Railway, which later became part of the Chicago and North Western Railroad. The north-south trail is located in western Sangamon County.
Parking and Trail Access
There is trail access at all its street crossings south of Old Jacksonville Road. The only trail parking is in the parks at its end points. Located in the extreme southwest corner of Springfield, Centennial Park is easy to get to and has two parking lots with direct access to the trail. To get there from I-72, take the Wabash Avenue exit and turn northeast toward Springfield. Upon entering the sweeping curve to the east, turn left onto Bunker Hill Road. Proceed just over 1/2 mile till you see the turn-ins to the park and parking on the right.
A Great Beginning..
..of the more extended trail yet to come. Sept '12. We found a small new parking lot on the west side of the southern trail end. There were also porta potties there and at the parking lots in both trail end parks.
A tale of two trails
The southern half of the trail has five grade-level crossings, which are good for access but can slow down trail users. The first two -- if you're northbound from Centennial Park -- make it easy to look ahead for cars, so you don't have to slow down if ...