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The paved Interurban Trail, which travels north more than 8 miles from Chatham to the Illinois state capital of Springfield along the old interurban electric rail line, provides a pleasant mix of suburban and rural scenery. The Interurban is a wonderful example of a rail-with-trail—train and trail traffic share the corridor. The trail serves as a great commuter route for people heading in and out of Springfield, which is home to more than 110,000 residents.
Near the southern end of the trail, history buffs will enjoy the Chatham Railroad Museum, housed in a 1902 train station and offering a plethora of artifacts, photos and documents on display. The trail continues among standard suburban surroundings, but a certain amount of serenity not found in the suburbs prevails along this route. Just north of Chatham, the trail skirts along a paved golf cart path, as it winds through the manicured greens and fairways of a beautiful golf course. Only 0.25 mile beyond the golf course is a highlight of the Interurban Trail: Lake Springfield. The lake is visible from the Interurban but don't be fooled by the terrain. What looks like a small amount of water from ground level is actually a vast, 4,200-acre reservoir that supplies water to residents of Springfield and surrounding areas all year.
Beyond Lake Springfield, the trail offers views of the rural landscape dominated by fields of corn, though this setting is fleeting. I-72 looms ahead, reminding you of the city yet to come, and as the trail comes to a close in Springfield, people and neighborhoods become more prevalent. A small oasis from the bustle of suburban and city life, the Interurban Trail is exactly the kind of useful and pleasant link you expect from a rail-trail.
To access the trail in Chatham: from I-72, take State Route 4 (Veterans Parkway) south for approximately 4 miles and turn left onto East Walnut Street. Go one block to North State Street and park in the lot on the southeast corner.
To access the trail in Springfield: from I-72, take MacArthur Boulevard north to Junction Circle/West North Street. Turn left and proceed two blocks to South Park Avenue. Proceed straight through the intersection; parking is 200 feet ahead, on the right.
Another great ride and a job well done by the cities of Springfield and Chatham. Add the Wabash trail for a 22.5 mile out and back. A decent hill where the I 72 and train tracks bisect the ride. Pass through a short tunnel and about a .3 mile climb with a good gradient of 6 %. Flat out to Chat am with one road to cross that has signals and a bile repair stand just before the crossing. my favorite in the area of Central Illinois.
We always start with the Wabash Trail and hook up to this one. One of our favorites to do.
Well maintained and easy to ride. Well, expect for the bridge / hill in the middle. Lol. But mostly flat and a great trail to take a quick ride down.
High recommended to try. Has a few places along the way to stop and rest if you need too. You'll usually find someone on the trail along the way. Very popular trail.
My husband and I rode this trail today. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful trail. So glad to have this trail so close to our home!
Overall this is a nice 8 mile trail. Good riding surface for road bikes and mostly flat for an easy ride. Most of the trail is shaded which is nice on a hot day. Trail connects with the Wabash Trail, but that trail is more crowded with walkers.
Awesome trail. Easy to access, great surface, interesting terrain which is mostly flat except around I-74, nice scenery, good length, some shade and it connects directly to Wabash Trail. What's not to like?
Perhaps I am biased because we live on the south end of Springfield and ride this trail all of the time, but this trail is fantastic.
First and foremost, this trail is actually longer than advertised. It connects with the "Wabash Trail" in Springfield, Ill. (Sangamon County) through a path along MacArthur Boulevard.
The trail is on top of what used to be the Illinois Terminal line. Photos of the line are scattered throughout stretch from the Chatham trail head to Interstate 72. My favorite part is around mile marker 2, when you ride along and across Lake Springfield.
It is well maintained. Smooth. Flat except for a hill leading to a bridge over a couple of rail lines. It even runs by a major sporting goods store.
If I have any complaint about the trail, it is that there are no bathrooms. Fortunately, this trail is in a more urban area, which means there are places along the way.
Come and see this trail for yourself after you see all of the Abraham Lincoln sites downtown!
It's all flat, except for a stretch in Springfield where there's a big hill to go up and down. We parked at the big Scheels store in Springfield where there is ample parking, restrooms and restaurant. There's a sidewalk connection to catch the trail about one block away. Scheels also has a bunch of other trail maps in their sporting goods department.
The trail is nice and scenic. The path has been modified due to the MacArthur extension to I-72, it's now routed across the street and behind Scheels. There is parking in Chatham at the south end of the trail, a small lot is provided directly across the street from the trail head. There are several other parking lots at various points on the path (Woodside Rd, MacArthur and I-72, and MacArthur and Wabash).
As my wife and I are beginners, this trail was excellent. We didn't make it all the way to Chatham because "one" particular hill was a monster. We will keep doing it until it becomes second nature.
"As a new resident of Chatham, the interurban trail is a great asset. I ride my bike to Springfield all of the time. "
The four of us enjoyed this trail very much. Signage needs to be improved. Also toured the Wabash Trail. Great job on both trails.
I found this trail to be great for in-line skating. It's very smooth. There are only a few rough spots when crossing Woodside Road. Towards the northern end it's not well marked. There is no dedicated parking for the trail which was distressing.
"The Interurban trail now extends across Woodside road, continuing to Chatham for a total trail length slightly greater than seven miles. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has not officially opened the new section of trail, however."
"This trail is a nice surprise, except for the abrupt ending at Woodside Road. However, many bikers continue across Woodside to the old part of the trail that leads to Lake Springfield (there are even some trails that have been 'built' in this area by mountain bikers).
Once you hit the lake there is an OLD railroad bridge that has been torn out so it only extends halfway across the lake. More adventurous bikers find a trail that leads to the railroad bridge that is in use (CAUTION) that then connects back to the original trail and leads to Chatham. I think the city took out the bridge because it was unsafe. However, how safe is crossing a set of railroad tracks on your bike when a train goes whizzing by at 70-mph?"
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