George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail

Illinois

George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Massac
Length: 3.9 miles
Trail end points: E. 5th St./US 45 at entrance to Fort Massac State Park (Metropolis) and Strawberry Rd./CR 1550 E. (west of Brookport)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7679339
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail Description

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.

Parking and Trail Access

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.

George Rogers Clark Discovery Trail Reviews

A very nice flat trail. I wish you could see the river from more of it, but the forest is quite peaceful.

The trail starts in Fort Massac SP which would be a great place to basecamp for a weekend of rides at this trail, the spectacular Tunnel Hill trail (26 miles northwest) and/or Paducah’s magnificent Greenway & Downtown (9 miles southeast). Due to highwater, the road and bridge over Massac Creek was closed so we rode through the park and to the Superman statue which is located, where else but, in downtown Metropolis. Upon return, a ranger directed to the opposite side of the creek, Belgrade Rd. Trailhead (1st right east of I-24). It is a very nice trailhead with plenty of parking and clean restrooms. The trail is 10’ wide concrete in great condition and approx. 95% shaded. Mostly it straddles above swampy lowlands so you get to see plenty of wildlife; birds, deer, racoons and snakes (yup again) and a mixed variety of trees. We looped the trail from the County Rd 1150E Trailhead to the intersection of the gravel park road where the trail was again closed. Overall, it was a great, yet limited, biking experience where we were reminded of our country’s rich history and natural diversity.

A friend and I rode the 2.7 mile rail trail portion of the bike path. It was wonderful. There are two great bridges that didn't scare me, and I am afraid of bridges. The cement trail is well maintained. There are wetlands flanking the trail. We rode it twice and had a terrific time. There is a well maintained outhouse facility at the Belgrade parking area. This parking area is in the middle of the trail so you go one direction then back the other way. There are four benches. When you head east toward Strawberry lane there is one bench at the parking area at the end of the cement path. This side has both bridges: one over Fourmile Creek (420 feet long) and one over Sevenmile Creek (211 feet long). The other three benches are on the path toward Fort Massac. The rail trail is the only portion of the ride that is automobile free. The ride was great. We will be back. The dogwoods and redbuds are in full bloom along the path. Happy trails, indeed!

Accordion

A friend and I rode the 2.7 mile rail trail portion of the bike path. It was wonderful. There are two great bridges that didn't scare me, and I an afraid of bridges. The cement trail is well maintained. There are wet land flanking the trail. We rode it twice and had a terrific time. There is a well maintained out house facility at the Belgrade parking area. This parking area is in the middle of the trail so you go one direction then back the other way. There are four benches. When you head east toward Strawberry lane there is on bench at the parking area. The other three are on the path toward Fort Massac. The rail trail is the only portion of the ride that is automobile free. The ride was great. We with,, be back. The dogwoods and redbuds are in full bloom along the path. Happy trails, indeed!

The surface is smooth and the trail is hidden under forestation. Making it easy to ride even during the summer. It's not a long trail, so kids can join for family fun. There's a couple of wooden bridges along the way and you'll find people walking or jogging down the trail as well.

From Pittsburgh to Cairo, the Ohio River has a rich and storied past. It's about discovery.. this trail's name says that plain enough. It's about transportation.. barges you can see on the river and the railway now traversed by the trail's eastern section. It's about wildlife, forests and natural beauty.. that you observe from end to end on the trail. It's about military conquest and defense.. seen in the old Fort Massac recreation. It's about the water.. that floods the trail when there's too much rain upstream. This is a great trail to walk or ride.. and imagine.

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