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Illinois’ Centennial Trail runs through parts of three suburban counties from Willow Springs Road to Romeo Road/135th Street southwest of Chicago. The trail occupies a thin strip of land between the Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and features a historic swing bridge. Coursing primarily through forest, the trail is ideal for bird and wildlife watching.
The site of the trail is part of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, and the trail connects directly at its southern end with the northern portion of the nearly 70-mile Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail. Between Kingery Highway S./State Route 83 and Willow Springs Road, the Centennial Trail also parallels the John Husar I&M Canal Trail, which follows the southern bank of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.
Parking for the Centennial Trail is available in Romeoville at the Isle a la Cache Forest Preserve on E. Romeo Road and in a small lot just to the east where the trail meets the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail.
We really enjoyed our ride on this trail. Even the portion by the industrial park was really not to bad. We were on a tandem where the stoker can bear the brunt of bumps and we had no issues.
June 25th, 2016.... My wife and I started in Willow Springs and right away we were so pleased with this trail. Beautiful thru the woods and then pass the Black-eyed Susans, poppys and other wild flowers. A little dismal past the mulching operation, but it was a short time. Very interesting to see Veterans Memorial Tollway from the ground. After that it was an easy ride to the end. Great trail!!!
There is so much to like about this trail and I really don't have any negative points to share.
I started the trail at its southern point, parking at the Isle a la Cache Forest Preserve lot. There is a nice little museum with modern restrooms at this parking lot so it makes for a nice starting/finishing point. I then proceeded north (13 miles one way) to the end point in Willow Springs and back. If 26 miles R/T can be easy, then this trail isn't bad.
The trail is relatively flat and in excellent condition the entire way. It has a real interesting mix of things to see along the way. You travel through woods, some prairie, along the Des Plaines River and also along the Illinois Michigan Canal where you see barges & boats. What I liked is that you travel miles on this trail without even hearing or seeing cars so you get that remote feel even though you are relatively close to major roads. There is a 1 mile section of the trail that puts you on an industrial road. Do not let that deter you from taking this trail because there is almost no traffic on this stretch and the trail is clearly marked. At first it took me by surprise because it is so out of character with the rest of the beautiful trail. Like I said, it is a short stretch so no worries. Nice 5 star trail overall.
Note: The northern section was recently repaved and if you start at the northern most point there still is a sign posted stating that the trail is closed. I am not sure why this sign remains because the trail has been open for some time.
My husband and I were delighted to discover today that the Centennial Trail segment between Rte. 83 and Columbia Woods is finally open again and better than ever. The surface is smooth new asphalt with a center stripe. The biggest change is to the landscape: they have constructed hills which will eventually feature mountain bike trails and a viewpoint near the east end of the trail. To the west, all is the same, except that the road portion near the landscaping supply company is rougher than ever and - wonder of wonders! - there is now a port-a-potty at the far end of the parking lot at 135th Street.
We noticed a new sign directing riders to the Cal Sag Trail at the Rte. 83 bridge, so apparently it's possible to connect to that new trail as well as to the portion of the I&M Canal Trail that parallels the Centennial.
The 4 mile Willow Springs section is finally open and it is really nice. The two 'hills' built by the MWRDGC will be landscaped this summer so expect intermittent closures.
IDOT will be replacing the 90 Year Old trail head bridge sometime in the next decade, maybe. Do not let the disgraceful entrance deter you though. This is a great trail.
It has been about 3 years since the Willow Springs Road spur has been open but it will reopen on Saturday October 17th. There is a Speedway gas station near the entrance to the trail on Willow Springs road near German Church Road. I looked at the new, just put down, pavement today and it looks beautiful. They also re-striped it already so it will be ready to go. I wanted to ride on it this morning but it is still closed until Saturday when they have the ceremony.
Every Trail has it's own culture and the Centennial Trails culture is one of the best. The portion that is still open is a great trail and well maintained by the CCFPD, DPFPD and the WCFPD. The exception is the 1 mile Canal Bank Road part east of Lemont Road.
For 1 mile the trail is on a shared 'Industrial Road' owned by the MWRDGC and it hasn't been maintained despite numerous complaints about the road condition and the aggressive driving of the customers of the landscape supply company located where Old Lemont Road goes under the railroad bridge.
The DuPage leg east of Canal Bank road to Rte 83 gives you a great view of the lighthouse where the Cal-Sag Canal joins the Sanitary and Ship Canal along with an aeration waterfall. The section west of Lemont Road has a spectacular view of the Palisades and the view of Lemont from Canal Bank Road is very impressive.
There is a new spur at the I 355 bridge that lets you go north and can connect you with the Woodridge and Waterfall Glen trails with minimal street riding.
The trail does need more signage, parking and a couple of Porta-potties would be nice, but the current users are pretty good with trail courtesy and directions and will help you out.
By 2017 the Willow Springs to Rte 83 portion should be reopened and the full trail restored.
I've been looking for this trail for years. Finally found it after looking at the map here. I must admit that the portion west of Rt 83 is loaded with quite a few broken branches. After reading someone's comment here I thought they were being picky, but after experiencing it myself I would agree that someone needs to get in there to clean up. Other than that, we really enjoyed the ride and made it 30 miles round trip. We started from the I&M trail in Willow Springs and turned around near Lockport. We also appreciated the maps at a few trail heads. I will try it again after the construction ends.
I actually like taking the Centennial trail from Woodridge to Lockport, however I find that the signage is rather poor. Yes you have very nice mile markers along the route and nice notices (Lemont 3.1 miles ahead), but when you come into Lemont from the west there are no signs that indicate how to get into Lemont and connect with the rest of the trail.
This is similar to the 135th street bridge where there is no signage that tells you where the Isle de la Cache Museum is, there is no signage on the south side of the 135th street bridge that tells you to go UNDER the bridge. When you get into Lockport, the rider is "dumped" into some assemblage of historic buildings with no real path through the area or signs that indicate how to get to Lockport. Once you figure that out you are lead along alleyways and little gravel pathways that get you into town. Once in town there are no brochures that tell you where you can get a drink or a sandwich. Lots of missed opportunities. Rather dissapointing for a National Parkway.
This trail was very boring. There was one or two scenic spots, but any other potential view was blotted out by tree growth on the side of the river. Most of the path was straight ahead with trees growing on either side with an ugly wall or fence on the side. Don't ride this trail when the sun sets in the summer, there was literally a mile-long cloud of gnats that we had to bike through - almost impossible to see (gnats flying in your eyes) and impossible to breathe without inhaling gnats in your nose and/or mouth. Ugghh..... will never ride this trail again!
You can park in Willow Springs and just head west , following this trail through Lemont and into Romeoville , then turn around and come back East for the full 26 mile ride . Beautiful views of the river and wildlife . Not many elevation changes so you can keep a good pace . After your ride , stop at Imperial Oak Brewery in Willow Springs for a stay craft beer ! I did .
I don't know where you were, but it wasn't Centennial Trail. For some reason the directions here are wrong. To get to the Lemont trail head, if you are coming from North of there, take Lemont Road south to Old Lemont Rd. Old Lemont Rd is on the West side of the street right after Bluff Rd and just before the bridge. There is no marked parking, but the trail is on the right when the road make a hard left. I usually drive under the old railroad bridge and just park along the road.
I road the trail today to Romeoville and back, and it's in great shape.
We always start our ride at 135th St. access in Romeoville. It is just under 9 miles to the Rte. 83 overpass. The trail is fenced off there. The trail is closed from that point until its end at Willow Springs Rd until Fall 2015. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago is undertaking a project to prevent flooding and improve water quality in the Chicago region.
Do not dispare, take the Rte. 83 overpass bike lane and hook up with the John Husar I&M Canal Trail. That trail is older and a little rough if you have a road bike. Still a very nice ride. According to maps I have this trail goes just past I 294. We plan on riding entire route this weekend. Should be close to 30 miles round trip.
After spending 90 minutes trying to find the trailhead for this ride we were greeted with crushed stone. Not asphalt. The directions from this website to the trailhead are completely inaccurate and we resorted to Google maps.
Our bikes are not meant for crushed stone so you can imagine how frustrated we were. And while we could have chosen to ride the road instead I worried about our riding buggy being on the road (That's why we choose to Ride the Rails).
Plus, we are fairly new to the area and not familiar with the area surrounding the trailheads. We attempted to find the LeMont trailhead but, once again, found only crushed stone.
Did I miss something? Was I on the wrong trail and was unaware? If anyone has suggestions I am open to hearing them since the trail is fairly close to our home in Chicago and would make a great place to do a morning ride.
The Eastern section of this trail from Willow Springs Road to Route 83 (approx 4 miles) will be closed from May 15, 2013 until summer 2016 to allow the Metropolitan Water Reclaimation District to build a big pile of dirt.
Alternate access to the rest of the trail is via the John Husar I&M Trail off Archer Avenue. Husar Trail has not been repaved in over 20 years so if you have a carbon frame bike it is going to be sporty
Last minute, I brought my mtn bike on my driving business trip, and discovered this site. This gave me a choice of trails in the area of my business meeting. Nice site, and a nice ride along the canal with the trees changing color. Nice, wide, paved trail. The only thing that could be considered a negative is the fact that it is along the industrial part of town, but it sure beats the heck out of using the hotel fitness room.
I stumbled across this trail purely by chance. Without a destination in mind, I was heading South on Lemont Rd. I chickened out on the bridge and turned right off of Lemont hoping to find another way across the river and canal. Instead I found this trail. I was riding my shiny new road bike, and was pleasantly surprised to find a nice paved trail, as many of my usual haunts are now off limits to me and my new skinny tires. I rode West to Romeo Rd. and then all the way back East to Willow Springs Rd. My ride West was generally more pleasant. The trail was definitely in better shape. Going East of Lemont Rd. finds the trail littered with sticks and branches. Still, I'm not one to look a trail horse in the mouth, and I was able to navigate just fine regardless. I rode the trail again today (a Saturday) and had a similarly nice experience. The trail is sheltered from the wind, nicely paved, and not too crowded, even on a weekend. I was able to average a healthy 18 mph, but still took time to enjoy the scenery, which is definitely a plus. I would have given it a 5th star if the Eastern part of the trail was better maintained, but I'm definitely going to start incorporating this trail into my rides. It also connects up with the I&M Canal trail on the Southern/Western end (hint: go across the bridge to the left once you hit Romeo Rd. and turn left under the bridge after you cross it. Yeah, it's a little shady...), but the trail is unpaved from that point on, so I'll have to come back with some fatter tires. This trail system is definitely a hidden gem in suburban Illinois, so take advantage of it!
Rode the full trail and back for the first time. Pavement is in good shape. The only issue on the trail is the number of branches and sticks on the trail. Some are pretty large. I rode my cyclocross bike with 700X32 tires. My road bike has 700X23 tires, and had I ridden that bike, I suspect my risk for a flat might be fairly high. I also don't think the trail is 26 miles round trip. I finished the round trip in one hour and twenty minutes which would equate to 19.5mph. However, I was only averaging around 18mph on my speedometer. Either way, it is a good ride with only one cross street and about one mile on an industrial road near the san/ship canal. I rode early on a weekday morning and only encountered about 10 folks the entire round trip.
My family and I normally ride the Old Plank Trail from various points. I came upon the Centennial Trail via this website. My son and I decided to give this trail a trial spin a few weeks ago. There is only parking for about six cars at the entrance to the trail off of 135th St. in Romeoville. My advice, we park at Isle la Cache which is across 135th St. Be warned that the one and ONLY port-a-pot you will encounter on this entire trail is located at Isle la Cache. The first week we rode from 135th St. to the Route 83 overpass which is almost 9 miles one way. Be aware that when you cross Bruce Road you will have to share the road for about one mile. But it is for business only so traffic is minimal. The second week we rode a little further, 10.5 miles into the trail. My one complaint, other than the fact of zero port-a-pots along trail, is that there is nowhere to sit and take a break if need be. No pavilions or picnic tables, nothing. We just stand beside our bikes while having a drink of Gatorade and downing a Cliff Bar. Yesterday, my son and I conquered the Centennial Trail riding its entire distance and back for a total of 26.2 miles. The trail is paved asphalt with no hills just a few small inclines. It has a nice mixture of shady and sunny parts to it. All in all, the Centennial Trail is a nice change of pace.
I've done this trail several times. The surface is "NEW" blacktop and in great shape. That said, there is a short section of old blacktop road as you travel through the Lemont area. The trail travels along the DesPlains River. It connects to one of my favorite routes, "The I & M Canal Trail". I have completed the two connecting trails from Willow Rd. to LaSalle. This is my favorite bike trip. I give the Centennial Trail a 4 star rating. If you add the I & M Canal Trail it becomes a 5 star trail 56 miles long! A great bike trip through several State Parks.
Even with the Asian carp fences, this is still a beautiful trail with great views! Our youngest is now on his own 2-wheeler and paved trails are so much easier to ride for beginners. This is a nice, relatively flat and straight trail that connects with the I & M canal trail, which will take you all the way to Utica and Starved Rock and beyond if you just keep pedaling... That's one long ride on crushed limestone trails, though!
Rode this trail today with my 9 year old son, while my wife jogged her usual 5k. My son and I rode the trail from the 135th St. Bridge to the I-355 overpass Totalling six miles there and back. Perfect ride for the family, kids and adults will enjoy the paved trail, saw lots of families enjoying the warm day, even saw a few kayakers on the Desplaines River, also the trail is great for inline skaters too. Nice shaded path, only thing I would suggest is to wear a hat due to all the trees, with the ticks, (my wife had one on her shirt), but hey don't let that scare you away, just take precaution and Enjoy The Ride!!!!!
The Centennial Trail was a scenic and relaxing ride for the past few years. Great for families. One of the best trails around. Unfortunately the entire trail is closed to riding until October 29th, 2010.
Once it is reopened it will no longer be as beautiful and scenic. The trail is being enclosed by high walls to keep the asian carp from reaching the Des Plaines river. While the trail will still be available, the views of the river will be history.
As of June 15, 2010 the section of the Centennial Trail from Lemont Road to Romeo Road (135th Street about five miles), will be closed until 2011 by the Army Corps of Engineers in order to build a barrier on the Canal to stop Asian or Big Head Carp from getting into Lake Michigan. The parking lot at 135th (Romeo Road) will also be closed.
Darn Invasive Species
Took my kids and wife out to try this trail. Started on the North side of the trail, which has parking by the way and only made it about 2 miles south. It was nice and quiet. Only meet a couple of other people using it. Mostly adults, but did see 2 other families with kids. We'll be going back next weekend. It was perfect and easy for my kids!!!
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