Constitution Trail & Historic Route 66 Trail


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Constitution Trail & Historic Route 66 Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: McLean
Length: 50.5 miles
Trail end points: Old Rte. 66 near 510 W Cemetery Ave (Chenoa) and Funk's Grove Gazebo (Shirley)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6225143

Constitution Trail & Historic Route 66 Trail Description


The sprawling Constitution Trail and Historic Rte. 66 Trail covers over 53 miles throughout the Bloomington-Normal area. The trail was officially named and dedicated in 1987 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the United States Constitution. The Historic Rte. 66 Trail travels between Normal and Chenoa and is part of the greater trail system that is the Constitution Trail

About the Route

The Constitution Trail is a sprawling system, with several different branches that travel through the Bloomington-Normal Area and beyond. Additional park spurs take trail users to various parks in the region.

The Illinois Central Branch, the main spine of the trail has a southern endpoint at Croxton Avenue and Indianapolis Street and travels northward through an industrial area. The pathway passes by the Beer Nuts production plant, where trail users can visit the company store of the famous Bloomington-produced snack. Shortly after passing through the Washington Street tunnel, trail users can find the Atwood Wayside trailhead with a covered picnic area, water fountain, and parking area.

The tree-lined trail continues through a mix of residential and forested areas. Along the way, be sure to read the historical markers with stories of the rail corridor’s past. After crossing the bridges over Emerson Street and Sugar Creek, the trail passes under the historic Camelback Bridge: its distinctive shape allowed the tall stacks of wood-burning locomotives to pass under it. The wooden bridge is the oldest surviving structure associated with the rail corridor.

A couple of blocks farther, the trail reaches the Allers Shelter Wayside and Connie Link Amphitheater Park, where the Bloomer Line Branch of the trail heads east. This 4-mile section of trail travels through peaceful neighborhoods and shopping areas. Along the way, the trail passes by several parks with pleasant side paths to take in the scenery. Three miles in, the trail arrives at Tipton Park, which features an expansive path that takes trail users through ponds and a lush prairie habitat. About a mile farther, the Bloomer Line Branch comes to its eastern endpoint at the edge of town on Towanda Barnes Road.

Continuing north on the Illinois Central Branch from the Allers Shelter Wayside/Connie Link Park, the trail passes through the trendy Uptown Normal district near Illinois State University (ISU). This neighborhood features several local shops and restaurants just off the path. The Collegiate Branch of the trail leaves off from here, heads through the ISU campus, and connects to Heartland Community College. 

The Illinois Central Branch continues out of the Uptown district along a forested corridor, becoming more and more rural. At the edge of town, the trail passes by Rosa Parks Commons, a vast open field with a playground, restrooms, water, and parking. A mile later, the trail intersects with the Northtown Branch of the trail at Northtown Road. This 3-mile section heads east along the roadway and loops around a neighborhood surrounding a large pond.

The Interurban Branch is the westernmost section of the trail network. The West Route 9 Wayside trailhead is located on 1400 North Road, just west of the Mitsubishi Motorway (US 150). The trailhead features plenty of parking and a large map to help guide trail users. The first 2 miles of the Interurban Branch are largely rural along the tree-lined path. As the trail passes under I-74, things begin to change into a more industrial feel. After passing over Goose Creek on the modern trestle, the trail parallels West Washington Street for a stretch, then zigzags across and over railroad tracks into Alton Depot Park. The trail continues alongside an active railroad line for just over a mile before stopping at East Lincoln Street. Turn left (east) here and the trail will pick up as a wide sidewalk on Lincoln Street (just past Bunn Street) until this section ends 0.5 mile later at McGregor Street.

The Southtown Branch of the trail has a western endpoint at the intersection of Fox Creek Road and Historic US Route 66, merging for a time with the Route 66 Branch. This section continues along Hamilton Road until Bunn Street. After a short gap, the trail picks up again at the intersection of Commerce Parkway and Hamilton Road, but trail users can access the trail by traveling on Rhodes Lane, then turning left onto Morrissey Drive, and continuing on the wide side path at Hamilton Road. The trail briefly shares a boundary with an active railway, forming a rail-with-trail segment. The trail then turns north, passes beneath Hamilton Road, and briefly follows a small creek on its way toward Ireland Grove Road. 

The trail crosses Ireland Grove Road and loosely parallels Arcadia Drive. Like the previous section, it offers a few sweeping turns. A short spur leads back south to parking along North 1200 East Road. When the trail approaches East Lincoln Street, it crosses over to the northern side of the roadway and follows the wide sidewalk along it. At South Hershey Road, you can go north to access parking and facilities at Rollingbrook Park or continue east on the trail. Here, the trail separates from the road and meanders briefly along a small creek and then through nicely kept neighborhoods before it joins White Eagle Drive. It remains a separate trail for another 0.5 mile, where it reaches a trailhead at Streit Drive.

As its name implies, the Route 66 Branch follows the famed US highway from Bloomington southwest past the small community of Shirley. Northeast of Normal, there are three more discontiguous sections of Old Route 66 trails in McLean County: Towanda Route 66 Parkway, Lexington's Route 66 Trail, and the Chenoa Route 66 Prairie Trail. 

Each of the sections of the Historic Rte. 66 Trail travels along the historic highway and although each section of the trail is separate, trail users may connect their journey by traveling along the highway itself all the way north to Chenoa and south to Normal and beyond. The Historic Rte. 66 Trail is a part of the larger Constitution Trail network in the Bloomington-Normal Area.

Parking and Trail Access

The Constitution Trail and Historic Rte. 66 Trail runs between Old Rte. 66 near 510 W Cemetery Ave (Chenoa) and Funk's Grove Gazebo (Shirley).

Parking is available at:

  • Connie Link Amphitheater, 621 S Linden St (Normal)
  • 2405 General Electric Rd (Normal)
  • BP Station, 204 N Jefferson St (Bloomington).

There are numerous parking options on the route, see TrailLink Map for all parking options and detailed directions.

Constitution Trail & Historic Route 66 Trail Reviews

Nice general purpose trail

This is a real nice trail, but at times it’s more like a sidewalk than a bike trail. There are a lot of pedestrians and many many crosswalks. The trail ends in several different places so it’s a little bit confusing. This is more of a trail system than it is one trail. The trails are in pretty good shape but some of the more lonely stretches there was some broken glass. lonely stretches, have broken glass and things on them so you really need to know where you are going.

Great Afternoon Ride

Rode this trail yesterday from central Bloomington to where it ends north of Towanda. Trail is in very good condition and easy to ride. I felt safe along the trail - it is far enough away from the old Route 66 Hwy. which was a plus! There are ample stopping/resting points along the way if needed. Now this trail needs to be completed all the way to Lexington and northward from there! ¿

Amazing Trail

Amazing path and trees, best foliage from late spring to early fall

Great trail!

This trail is in great shape. Easy riding and cute little photo ops along the way. Another plus-this is close enough to hop on from the Constitution Trail.


Chenoa, Lexington, Towanda...why has Pontiac not done this to it's retired section of 66? From the old Kmart to the old State Police HQ then cross over at E. 1600 North Road and connect to the path at the Rec Plex that runs alongside the prison.

Chenoa, Lexington, Towanda...why has Pontiac not done this to it's retired section of 66? From the old Kmart to the old State Police HQ then cross over at E. 1600 North Road and connect to the path at the Rec Plex that runs alongside the prison.

Great family ride

We rode the SW section last weekend and the family really enjoyed it. We found great parking and a spot to eat before we rode the 5 miles into town and back out. The surface was well maintained. The scenery was great. It was a nice quiet ride and we stopped to take a lot of pictures.

My Constitution Trail Review

The Constitution Trail is a great bike trail. It is a entire 40+ miles long with concrete on all parts. The trial is covered with trees in most areas, creating a nice shaded ride. It makes the rides/walks/runs very relaxing, and it is well known throughout the community.

Welcome to the Mother Road

It’s great to see how trails are being developed along Route 66 in McLean County! The center section of this trail is a masterpiece all by itself! A superb introduction to the place Route 66 has had in American history.

One of my Favorites

I have ridden this trail 4 times so far, making the 35mile on way drive.
Very nice,tree lined and scenic ride along the creek. Tunnels pass under the busy streets. Can be a little crowded on weekends, so plan on going on weekdays, if possible. Almost totally paved from Bloomington to just south of Hudson and east to Normal. Although not part of the trail, Tipton Park in Normal connects to the trail and is just as nice. Can easily do 25miles by bike. Lots of benches, water fountains and rest rooms.

A Great Way to see the Mother Road

Lexington has done a great job holding onto its Route 66 charm! It’s small town Midwest Americana at its best! The day we were there to ride the trail, we had a great lunch at Kelly’s on 66, where we talked history with the owner and admired all the highway memorabilia from yesteryear. We were going to drive through downtown on Main Street, but found it blocked off and filled with a Homecoming Carnival. I didn’t know small towns even had these anymore! We’ll be going back again – for trail and town. Looks like there’s lots of Lexington events related to the Mother Road.

Memory Lane

I guess it’s neighboring Lexington IL that has the ‘official’ Memory Lane of Route 66. But I had memories aplenty when I rode this short trail in Chenoa. I grew up about 80 miles southwest of Chenoa when Route 66 was the best and only way to drive to Chicago or St. Louis. I later lived in Mexico for several years, and most of the miles between here and the border were on Old 66. Ah, stop me now. I have not time enough to tell all my stories of our Mother Road.

One of our favorite trails now

My wife and I headed from Peoria to try out something new and we were definitely not let down. Perfect trail system for our riding style. We parked at the Kerrick Parking and Access point and then headed south. Went all the way to the south endpoint of the Illinois Central branch. Then headed back north. Midway back we headed east on the Bloomer Line branch to the end of it and finally back to the car. In total just a hair over 22 miles of beautiful trails through the heart of town. I would say about 1/2-3/4 of our trip was tree covered. Very excited to head back and do it again!

Recumbent trike Rider

First trip on recumbent, positive experience with most other riders and walkers. Only passed one "pro" who was a little antsy due to the walkers in his lane. Handicap friendly area, pavement is a bit bumpy near Vonachens and near ISU campus, but tolerable. Shady areas for people wity heat intolerance like me, make this a pleasant ride.

Backbone of Thriving Communities

This is one great urban trail and linear park! It's really good to see how Bloomington-Normal has built onto the trail year after year. Now it's a nearly completed matrix of interconnected trail segments that one can use to ride significant, off-street mileage on cross-town routes to work, school, shopping or recreation. Plenty of pleasant views along the trail, too. Especially on the eastern section that runs past Veterans Parkway and Tipton Park. And, all those interesting interpretive signs! There are bike shops along the trail, and great places to eat by The Circle. It's definitely worth even a long drive for out-of-towners. Just go and spend a day on the trail. We drive over 50 miles to do just that every chance we get.

Consttutional Trail

The day was perfect in temperature. The trail in great shape. The flowers and scenery along trail was great lots of tender loving care. Signs could be better we took the wrong branch on the way back to car so did some doubling back but even that was ok.

This trailer has a number of different distances and smaller trails for good riding.

Good. Not great.

"It would seem the metro area has allowed various land owners to squat on original railbed in many places producing a disconnected patchwork. It is at least three separate trails. Furthermore, if there are signs along the route helping to connect the segments I cannot find them. I tried taking to city streets to get from one trail to the other without success. Just explored the Western section that starts/ends out near the Mitsubishi factory. Not as crowded, but plenty of glass on trail where trail safely parallels a live rail through town to Eastern Illinois. Warning signs promising camera surveillance and no tossing stones into windows on businesses in that area suggested it is not a good place to be alone with an expensive bike at times. Definately stick to the middle plus-shaped section for safety, but it is also crowded at times. Plenty of opportunity to stop and start in downtown Normal. The Eastern segment beyond Hershey Street is in very good condition, but a disappointing dead end. A few historical markers along the way. Good local trail with at least two bike shops adjacent to plus-shaped section of trail (Vitesse and Bloomington). Sadly, I would not travel from even Springfield or Chicago for this one."

Great first experience

"My daughter and I took advantage of the Constitution Trail today. It was the first time either of us had ventured out of our local town for a ride. The trail is in beautiful shape and wanders through some beautiful parts of Bloomington-Normal I didn't know existed. Well shaded with water readily available for riders, walkers and even 4 legged friends. There were portable toilets also along the trail. Hard surface made riding very easy. Generally flat with a few rises. It was totally fun."

A run through history for me!

"This trail is part of my past since I grew up in B&N. When I go back home to visit from Florida, I make a point of running it several times. I remember back when the camel back bridge used to have trains going under it instead of runners like me.

The run through Normal north to the Karick elevator is pure county. What more can you ask for in Illinois. Then a quick trip east and under the original Route 66 (now Veterns Parkway) and then on to Towanda Barnes Road.

There's lots to see for this old runner, but I am sure I see this trail much differently than most!"

"OK, but don't road trip for it"

"This trail has a nice surface (asphalt) for road tires. It is kind of busy on weekends, especially when Illinois State University is in session. I hope they get the expansion done in the future, as for now it’s just a giant plus sign shape.

The northernmost part is just a joke. There are about 10 busy roads to cross, which makes this trail a royal pain in the behind, especially for those with children.

All in all, I'd say if you lived in Normal, then by all means use this trail, but if you are one of those people that road trips just to ride different trails, then avoid this one as its too short, has too many road crossings, and is pretty crowded with skaters."

Nice Surprise

We are from Blommington & Normal but have lived in Florida for the last 34 years. We love to bike and are lucky to have the Pinellas Trail in our county. When we came back to B&N with our bikes we were pleasently surprised to find your Constitution Trail. You have done a great job with it and hope that you continue to expand on it.

"Constitution Trail, Bloomington, IL"

"I bike 1,000s of miles a year on this trail. That's probably enough said. It has one straight section of 8 miles that leads from ""country"" on the north to ""country"" on the east. There are several sections of the trail of a mile or more running right through town with no street crossings. It has bridges and tunnels to carry it over several major streets and highways including Interstate 55 and Veteran's Parkway (old U.S. 66).

Parts of the trail have abundant trees and shade for hot days. Other areas pass by small lakes and creeks.

This trail is all paved as is a separate 4-mile branch on Bloomington's southeast side. "

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