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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.
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.
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