Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail

Illinois

Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Macoupin
Length: 1.4 miles
Trail end points: Park Ave. just east of Trolley St. (Benld) and Clark St. just east of S. Macoupin St. (Gillespie)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015724
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail Description

The Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail is part of two developing Illinois initiatives: the Route 66 Trail from Chicago to St. Louis, loosely following the historic highway; and the Illinois Traction System (ITS) Trail from Springfield to St. Louis, following the large trolley network that once existed in central Illinois.

In Macoupin County, the original alignment of Route 66 was along present-day State Route 4, which connects Benld and Gillespie. Even before that, the two were connected by the Illinois Traction System, an electric-powered interurban railway. The Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail was built where the tracks of that system once ran, as was the Interurban Trail farther north between Springfield and Chatham.

Benld and Gillespie were developed as coal mining communities, although the trail’s route through open fields might remind you more of the rich farming heritage of other parts of Illinois. Eventually, plans call for the trail to be extended south to Staunton, where it will link with the northern end of the Madison County Transit Quercus Grove Trail, and on west across Madison County toward St. Louis.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail in Benld, take Exit 44 off I-55 and turn west onto State Route 138. Proceed 3.7 miles onto E. Central Avenue in downtown Benld. Turn right onto Trolley Street and continue 3 blocks to Park Avenue. Turn right onto Park Avenue; immediately to the left is parking and access to the southern end of the trail.

Benld-Gillespie Bike Trail Reviews

This was a very enjoyable trail to ride. It's mostly flat and mostly shaded from the afternoon sun. There are benches for resting along the way. The surface is well maintained. It has distances marked at every 0.05 miles. It even has a posted warning and markings for 'Rough Trail' in one place. Good day, good trail.

This trail is very well maintained and fairly well used. It's short, but plans are still in progress to connect it to Staunton (which is now connected to the Madison County trail system). Right now, the Benld/Gillespie trail is good for a short walk/run (2.8 miles roundtrip). Parking is available in Benld, but not right by the trailhead in Gillespie. The trail connects two small towns, but there is always wildlife along the trail. We see deer and coyotes on a regular basis on this trail. It goes right by the sewage treatment plant, so the air is not the best in some places, but still a very enjoyable walking trail.

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