Effingham TREC

Illinois

Effingham TREC Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Effingham
Length: 3 miles
Trail end points: W. Evergreen Ave. just west of Outer Belt W. and US 40 and Outer Belt W.
Trail surfaces: Concrete
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7460138
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Effingham TREC Description

The first portion of the TREC (Trail Recreation Effingham County) system, totaling approximately 3 miles, is complete, although eventually 30 miles of county-wide bicycling and walking trails will be developed. The trail is a wide and well-maintained ribbon of concrete that looks and feels new and comfortable. There are plenty of benches along the northern and western sections of the trail, but it does not have any restrooms or drinking fountains.

The densely wooded northern branch of the trail, sometimes called the Calico Trail, was previously a recreational trail for off-road vehicles. It has a challenging series of short but very steep hills, with grades marked from 10 to 14 percent.

The western branch is more varied and leisurely. It passes a scenic mix of flat woodlands and open pasture lands, and has longer grades up and down to a beautiful crossing of the Little Wabash River. There at Ryan's Crossing is a very elaborate wooden approach to the new bridge, with great views of the river in both directions.

The southern branch is along a major transportation roadway, passing large truck stops and shipping hub facilities.

Parking and Trail Access

There are three large parking lots near the north trail end: One at the Firefly Grill and two at the Effingham Performance Center, all at the western end of Avenue of Mid-America. The best is the east lot of the Center, from which there is a wide sidewalk connection down to the trail end on W. Evergreen Avenue. From I-57/70, take exit 160 and turn north onto State Route 32/33. Turn left onto Avenue of Mid-America and proceed 0.4 mile to the parking lot on the left, just before the intersection with Outer Belt West.

Effingham TREC Reviews

Not a good bike ride on this "bike trail". Steep hills and great curves, cool bridges but sooner or later there will be some bad accidents. Hikers walk 4 abreast and block your path and don't pay attention. With the steep hills it's hard to not ride with some speed yet you're generally forced to ride your brakes nearly everywhere or face the possibility of hitting a sleepwalker. They should just relabel it a "hiking trail". Maybe someday the county will have something for bikers but until then it's country roads dodging texting drivers, loose dogs, and rednecks who think it's funny to throw stuff out the window at you and aim their trucks at you. Ride on!

We hiked the entire trail, peaceful & beautiful day. Yes, there are 7-14% grades on part of the trail, otherwise main portion if relatively flat. One could easily hike, bike, roller-blade, skateboard, use a wheelchair or power chair on the trail, just be mindful that there are expansion gaps at the bridges.
We did see that there have been horses and off-road tracks on the side of the trail - a few on the trail. Evidence by the large droppings on the trail. And Please - if you are going to walk your dog, take a bag to pick up the "stuff"! no one wants to walk through, over or around your stuff!

We were really surprised by the sharp hills on the north branch of the trail! We've never seen grades so steep that the trail had cautionary signs marking them, just like what you see driving through the mountains on a highway. You want to have good brakes and a helmet on for this ride. If the trail's clear and you can just let 'er rip on the downhill, you can probably get on up the next hill all right; if not, be prepared for some very hard pedaling to make it to the top. The one great help is the smooth, new concrete trail surface. Wheeee...!

The western branch is really beautiful, and a lot less challenging to ride. It does have a couple of long hills, down and back up from the river crossing. But there's plenty of eye candy to enjoy along the way. The woods. The meadows. The river. And The Bridge! The wooden approach ramp on either side is absolutely amazing. We've never seen such long, crooked, and nicely contoured bridge ramps.

The southern part of the trail is kind of boring by comparison. Just wide sidewalk-trail down a wide, new roadway. It does afford a couple of full-service truck stops -- good for something to eat, drink, and restrooms. It also has a good walkway connection into the town center of Effingham, over the interstate bridge on W. Fayette Ave.

If they're anything like this one, we're really looking forward to the completion of more trails in the TREC system!

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