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The Erie Lackawanna (EL) Trail represents the longest contiguous trail in Northwest Indiana, running 17-miles from Crown Point north to Hammond. This trail passes through wetlands and open space on an unusually wide, paved corridor. The EL is a popular thoroughfare that lends green space to an urban landscape on this rail-trail with connections to five neighboring communities.
At the southern end in Crown Point, the EL starts at Summit Street, just west of Main Street, or State Road 55. The trailhead is brand new as of the summer of 2014 and features a 20-car parking lot, bathrooms, a drinking fountain and a seating plaza, complete with a large shelter replicating an old train depot. From here, head north, where you will ride nearly two miles without a road crossing, past the Lake County Government Complex to 91st Avenue in Merrillville. As you approach US Route 30, a trail connecting to the adjacent Pine Island subdivision has been built with nearby dining facilities.
Just past the Pine Island connector will be the box-culvert tunnel under US 30, and, just after, the town of Schererville. The route from here is lined with subdivisions and some open spaces. At Burr Street, the trail crosses into unincorporated Lake County, whose parks department have opted to naturalize the corridor by only mowing 10 feet on either side of the trail surface. This provides excellent wildlife habitat, and provides a rustic, natural character to the trail experience.
Continuing north, the trail runs into the town of Griffith at Colfax Street. This is a very busy corridor with blind curves, so extra caution needs to be afforded here. Once across, the trail meanders for a half-mile, with two in-laid pavement plazas highlighting the EL Trail logo. At South Broad Street, the route briefly departs from the old railroad corridor. For about 0.8 mile, you follow a well-marked independent bike lane on Griffith streets across seven active rail lines. Just before this detour, take a break at the convenient trailside shelter, which features picnic tables. From here, the trail enters the denser residential and commercial areas of the near-Chicago suburbs, so expect increased street crossings. One in particular is 45th Avenue, where you will need to cross four lanes without any signals.
The route eventually winds through downtown Highland with a number of stores and restaurants in close proximity to the trail. Just north of downtown Highland, the trail winds to Grand Boulevard adjacent to a playground, where users will need to head west across raised tracks to continue to Hammond. However, if you wish to access restrooms, you can continue on the paved path north of Grand, over the Little Calumet River, to the Levee Trail, and just a few hundred feet to the Indiana Welcome Center off of I-80/94. Please note that the Levee Trail has a crushed-limestone surface and is pretty soft in a couple of areas.
After crossing the tracks, the trail continues under US 41 into Wicker Park via a tunnel, where users will wind north to access a bridge over the Little Calumet River. Here, the trail on the levee has been paved as part of the EL network. Users will ride the levee, and then head north around Cabela’s and under I-80/94 via a large underpass.
On the other side of this tunnel, you enter the City of Hammond, which will take users roughly five miles into the downtown vicinity. This trail is the oldest section of the EL built in the mid-1990s. There have been some recent (2013) repairs done, including the addition of a new bike-only bridge at Columbia and 167th Avenues in 2014. The EL creates a ribbon of green through a dense residential district, and thus there are a number of street crossings you will experience; some are more difficult than others. Near the north end, at Douglas Street, the EL meets the northern termini of the Monon Trail, which extends five contiguous miles south into Munster.
The EL terminates at the northern end at Sibley Street. Plans are in the works to connect this trail east to the Marquette Greenway route, which will traverse along the toll road north into the Wolf Lake vicinity.
Plenty of parking is available on the Erie Lackawanna Trail. Starting on the southern end in Crown Point, a trailhead is located at the three-way intersection of Summit, West and Court Streets. It is accessed from State Road 55 and is next to a Walgreen’s. This site has permanent bathrooms and a water fountain.
Mid-point access locations are on Burr Street in Schererville, just south of 73rd Avenue, which is accessed from US 30 about a mile south. Another location is in Griffith, just east of Broad Street on Avenue B. Both of these locations offer a shelter.
The Indiana Welcome Center offers parking, plus bathrooms and a drinking fountain available to the public. The facility is located at 7770 Corinne Drive in Hammond, which is adjacent to the trail.
In downtown Hammond, the trail terminates at Sibley Street just east of Homan Avenue. There is no dedicated parking present, but only street parking. The nearest public parking lot is approximately a mile south at the Hammond Civic Center, located at 5825 Sohl Avenue.
I ride this trail weekly usually from Colfax Rd in Griffith South to Summit street in Crown Point. Pavement is great with some slightly bumpy sections just North of the US 30 underpass. South side of the US 30 under pass collects water during heavy rains and the tunnel can be icy in the winter.
So nice to have a trail of decent length that goes from a minor city to another. Businesses are in close proximity, periodically throughout the tail. Nice, direct, beautiful.
Visiting from PA. We brought our bikes and before Thanksgiving feast set out to get a little exercise. It's great the trail is paved but found it a little too bumpy and the surroundings a little boring. There was hardly a soul out because of the cold weather which made it more enjoyable.
This is a great trail whose southern end from Colfax to Crown Point needs to be replaced. Bumpy ,bumpy, bumpy due to cracks in the asphalt. Bearable but needs to be repaired. Rest of trail going north is fun.
This is a really nice urban/suburban/rural trail. You can go from Summit St. in Crown Point all the way to North Hammond and never ride in traffic. Many streets have to be crossed, but really none of them are more than two lanes across, and hardly any are that busy. The trail is paved all the way too. It's a little bumpy at the surface seams of the trail north of Crown Point, and people's backyards are seen throughout, but they send to be set back from the trail. The trail tends to get crowded on weekends with imitation Tour de Francers, so be careful.
Well maintained trail. Exactly what any biker or skater would want!!!
This is a very nice trail from Hammond to Crown Point. My cycling club rides this trail with some regularity during the summer months. I find that the trail is well maintained, and there is not too much glass on Saturday or Sunday mornings when we ride it.
The pavement is rough in some spots, and particularly north of Cabela's, I choose to ride on Southeastern Avenue as opposed to riding on the trail. The farther south you are, the better the pavement and the new part around Crown Point is amazing.
Rode as part of trip from Chicago. Very nice paved trail. Only complaint is confusing turn that lost my group at levee in Highland. Short ride to terrific Oak Savannah trail.
Some of the reviews need updating. I travel this route about 4 times a week. The south end of the trail is at Summit Street in Crown Point...about a mile north of the square. The trail heads northwest to the Little Calumet River. But if you turn left at Grand Blvd in Highland and go over the tracks there is another trail (a continuation of part of the Erie/Lack Trail) which heads west under RT 41 and connects to Wicker Park Trail oval. Head north on the oval. At the north end of the park there is a trail heading straight north that crosses the river and is now paved. Head west along the north side of river until you pass a small lake on the right. The Erie/Lack trail continues there and leads behind Cabela's and under 80/94 and continues Northwest to near downtown Hammond. Just before the north end of the existing trail the Monon trail starts. That trail heads south to Munster.
Not sure whether there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but the overpass is open for traffic! Very nice.
It was a wonderful ride with birds and groundhog Crossing streets can be a bit tricky and with some of new options, you could end up at a dead end and have to back track. But, the landscape is wonderful and the route well maintained. I just wish I knew how long the route was for each segment. I think we went a bit too far, since the reverse trip made us eager to "stand" not sit when we arrived back home.
See, for example, here:
Was going to ride this trail for the first time today. It appears to be a fine trail, one that I would really enjoy taking round trip. Today was not the day as about two miles from the Sibley entrance going north the bridge in not is service.
I think it will be open soon as the new asphalt appears to be completely replaced. If anyone knows when the bride reopens I would like to revisit.
One more thing, according to the map there is a section between the north and south sections that does not connect. Does anyone have experience navigating between the two sections? If so could you kindly provide information on how to maneuver from the nort to south sections.
We rode this trail from Highland to the far end of Griffith and back yesterday.I have to say it's the nicest paved trail I've ever been on.
Very scenic and everyone we encountered was very pleasant.
Rode the Crown Point to US 30 segment this weekend and am so impressed. The people that are objecting to trails in their communities are some serious deadbeats. Get out of the house and stop living your life in FEAR!
Crown Point has their act together. The trail is immaculate and well groomed. They even placed a great privacy fence along the neighborhood that backs up to the trail.
the tiled plaques are at the Pennsgreen tunnel under route 30,not at erie
this wonderful inlay is in GRIFFITH,ABOUT AVENUE O,NOT AT THE UNDERWAY ON ROUTE 30.
First time on the trail and on a bike in about ten years!purchased a bike and one of the store clerks told me of the trail,and i thought it was great for a first time rider !Rode it from C.P by walgreens all the way to Griffith and back and was not bad at all!so,take the chance and ride on!!!!
I haven't ridden this trail in several years so I decided to give it a try. I rode from the north end to the south. The north end is much improved since 2005 when I last rode it. The north end goes through some rough neighborhood areas. It used to be covered with gang signs. Hammond now seems to paint over them quickly as they pop up so the punks may have moved on. The maintenance on this part of the trail is much improved I actually saw two crews working on it in Hammond something I never saw before and I used to ride this trail weekly. When the trail reaches I-94 there is a nice tunnel under the road so getting pass the expressway is easy. The tunnel takes you to behind the Cabela's Sports. From the tunnel south it is pretty straight forward until you reach a pretty good incline. There is a rough gravel road there. Stay away from it it gets way rougher and dead ends. Go up the incline be careful it is rough loose gravel too. This is where the Erie Lackwanna connects to the Little Calumet Trail. The Little Calumet Trail runs west to Calumet Ave where it ends. There is another trail about six blocks further west. East from the incline will take you to the Wicker Park trail. It is suppose to loop the park but now because of road construction it doesn't. It is also suppose to take to to the underpass to get to the east side of US 41 but as of now that is all closed. If you don't go into Wicker Park the trail takes you to US 41. This has always been a dangerous place to cross US 41 but now because of the construction it has gone from dangerous to seriously suicidal. If you can get down US 41 about a block to the traffic light you can cross there. You have to ride through a small neighborhood . Cross US41 and then take the first right to get back to the trail. You can't really screw up here because there is only one way out of the neighborhood going east. Once you go over the railroad tracks you can turn north to get back to the Little Calumet Trail going east to Cline Avenue or south to where there are some high power lines running. A branch of the trail runs under the power lines until you reach a parking lot. If you go through the parking lot in the back you can get to the Little Calumet Trail there or turn north at the parking lot and catch the Little Calumet Trail in a couple of blocks. From that point the Little Calumet trail west takes you back to the Eire Lackawanna. From the power lines south the trail is pretty straight forward with just a couple of short branches so the locals can get to the trail. The construction has this trail totally screwed for the time being. But once it is done it will be a good solid ride. Riding as I have said gives you about a 29 mile ride. The trail is starting to show it age. Someone needs to tell the trail managers that driveway sealer is NOT asphalt patch. It does NOT fix a 1/2 inch wide crack. I would give the surface a B rating no big holes . Lack of signs and map postings is a big problem. Bring your own water or drinks as places to get some are few and far between. Hammond does not and Highland provides few drinking fountains. The Little Calumet part of the connection is scenic as I saw a deer and east of Kennedy Avenue there is a wet lands area with a lot of large wading bird, geese and raptors.
This trail now starts at Court and Summit Streets (behind Walgreens) in Crown Point. This adds nearly two miles, and was just opened in Nov of 2010. At the other end of the trail -check the map - there's a right split off the trail into Highland. A little furthur on there's a left turn which goes over a hill and some tracks and under the 41?Indpls? overpass and right into Wicker Park -another 2 miles around the park, but I'm not sure if, or how, it connects to Hammond. I hope to find the connection in 2011. While this is a great trail, we find ourselves going to Hobart most of the time to use the Prairie Duneland Trail. Its cooler on a hot summer day and really pretty.
This trail is great from Crown Point all the way through Highland! It is scenic and peaceful, wide and fun. People are generally courteous and move out of the way for passing pedestrians on bikes, blades, or runners. Once you get to Hammond the track is in horrible shape, there are several bumps and dips that could easily cause you to trip and fall - or face-plant if you're on a bike. Once you get to the welcome center on Kennedy and 80/94 it's a nice soft gravel path with a nature trail, but the path doesn't connect to Calumet City. It just seems to dead end at the expressway, I'm not sure how to continue onto the next part.... Overall it is good.
"On a beautiful October morning,I ventured out on the E/L trail for the 1st time. The trail was wide, clean, & scenic. The north end was especially well groomed. the only thing this trail lacks is a water fountain along the way."
"This is a very clean, well maintained and scenic ride. The town does a great job with keeping it safe and clean for the entire family. Having a Dairy Queen very close to the trail doesn't hurt when motivating the kids to hit the trail. The residents here abide by the rules and you rarely see a dog without a leash. Excellent 3 miles of trail! "
"I agree that the construction barrier across the trail was a major nuisance and should have never been allowed in the first place, but its gone now and the trail is once again an enjoyable ride. Connectors are in the planning stages to link up nearby trail segments which will really make this trail useful over a wider area."
"Great trail until a construction company piled three and a half feet of rock and earth across the trail making it difficult to use for bikes, strollers, wheel chairs, rollerblades, etc."
This trail has a good surface and connects south to Erie-Lack trail easily. To the north the connection is dangerous on US41
This trail lacks in basic maintenance. Lots of broken glass and overgrowth of trees on trail. Much vandalism many dogs off leash on trail.
This is one of the best trails in northwest Indiana. I can't wait until it is linked to the Hammond trail. Check out www.indianatrails.org for future projects.
We use this trail all the time. Nicely paved and good for my roller blades. Needs better mile markers though. Be careful crossing some of the streets too. You will often have to wait for a train to pass while in Griffith.
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