Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail


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Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Coles
Length: 12.9 miles
Trail end points: County Rd. 2/CR 1800 E. (east of Charlestown) and ball fields at N. 10 St. and Richmond Ave. (Mattoon)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015773
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail Description

The Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail runs 12 miles, much of the way along an old railroad right-of-way between County Highway 2 east of Charleston and the ball fields at 10th Street in Mattoon; an additional 1-mile loop takes you around the ball fields to Logan Street.

Two miles of the trail's surface is paved (the portions through Mattoon and Charleston), while the remaining 10 miles is compacted limestone; long-term plans call for paving the whole trail. A portion of the trail, between Loxa Road and Old State/Baxter Springs Road, is open to equestrians.

The trail is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available in Mattoon Park, at the 10th Street ball fields, or by the Roundhouse Complex on Shelby Avenue. Parking is also available midway off Loxa Road where the trail crosses the road. In Charleston, there is a small parking area between the industrial sites where Madison Avenue and CR 7/Old State Road run parallel. Additional parking is at the ball fields on Division Street.

Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail Reviews

Access to the trail is easy and I picked the West end trail head in Mattoon. I parked at Peterson Park where there are many shaded parking spots. The start of the trail is one block west and one block north of the park. The trail starts off paved and once out of town is crushed gravel. The trail is pretty well maintained and used quite a bit, but there were still a few sections where my comfort bike got a little out of sorts in deep gravel. Overall though, the condition of the trail was good. The trail is pretty flat and there are only a couple of places along the route where it is necessary to cross roads. The scenery is very peaceful and at one section, the trail cuts through a country club - so you may be sharing the trail in that section with a golfer or two... Both Mattoon and Charleston offer many opportunities for dining, so you won't go hungry! I will definitely be back and will use this trail for 50 mile rides in the future.

I first rode this trail several years ago and was not impressed: the surface was full of washouts and 4 wheeler ruts. However it now seems to be better maintained. The easternmost section is the best, a narrow corridor with lots of wildflowers and birds. As you get closer to Mattoon the trail opens up and there is no protection from the sun and wind. For a nice bit of shade take the spur into the Douglas Hart Nature Center.

This is one of my favorite trails. Good parking is available. The trail is not very curvy. It's somewhat hilly, but do-able. The trail near the end in Charleston is very peaceful. Downtown Charleston is only a couple blocks away too, plenty of food & drink.


My wife and I have ridden 15 trails in Central Illinois, and this one is in worse condition than any of them. The long, cross-country sections of crushed stone are in particular need of some maintenance. Through the I-57 underpass there are some serious wash-outs; and there's a lot of weeds growing up on the pathway -- especially east of Loxa Road, and even more, east of Charleston. Not to mention the manure piles one has to dodge on the equestrian section of the trail. It rained a couple of days before we rode the trail, so we also had some mud and water holes to contend with. Completing the asphalt paving of the trail would do much to turn it into a great Prairies Grass experience.

Me and my 10 yr. old son rode this 12 ml. trail.This was on 7/3/10 we both held up great.The trail is great for any naturalist.You see all kinds of wild flowers,bunny's,birds ect.The trail also runs past the Charleston golf coarse and also the 1/8 ml. drag strip.You also get a chance to smell all the wild flowers as you ride.We ended up in Charleston.We ate dinner then rode back.I remember growing up in Mattoon,Il and walking the train tracks as a kid."I think it was a great idea to turn that piece of property into a bike trail".We all have to take charge a fight for places like these.I THINK AN ALL BIKE NATION IS WHAT AMERICA NEEDS.Thank you

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