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The George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail has a name from the history books, and it runs entirely through Fort Massac State Park—Illinois’ first State Park, now over 100 years old—with its recreated fort first built in 1757. The fort, visitor center and park amenities all lie at the west end of the trail, which is mostly along low-traffic, low-speed, shared-use roadway. Just east of the wooden bridge over Massac Creek, the trail surface changes from asphalt to concrete for the long eastern rail-trail section on an old Illinois Central Gulf Railroad bed.
The western park section of the trail affords good views of the old fort and the much older Ohio River. There are picnic areas and plenty of open green spaces. Once on the rail-trail section, it's all dense bottom land forests along the Ohio River flood plain. There are newer steel bridges over Fourmile Creek and Sevenmile Creek; the latter is the longest prefab pedestrian bridge in Illinois. Flood waters often close the trail at the Massac Creek crossing. When in doubt, one can call the park visitor center to check on conditions.
To reach Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, take Exit 37 off I-24 and go west and south on US 45 for 2.5 miles. Turn left into the park and follow the road to the parking lots on the left, across from the Visitor Center.
There is also parking and trail access off both Belgrade Road and Strawberry Road to the east, which can be used to ride the 2.7-mile rail-trail section of the trail, even when high water closes the connecting road to the park facilities on the west.
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