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The Madison Count Transit (MCT) Watershed Trail is all about trains, bridges and waterways. It follows an abandoned rail corridor built in 1868, the first to serve the city of Edwardsville, itself the third oldest city in Illinois. Later the line became part of the Illinois Traction System of electric trains; later still, the Illinois Terminal Railroad.
The trail starts at the junction with the MCT Goshen Trail. Then it's on to a scenic overlook of the Watershed Nature Center and finally downtown Edwardsville. The trail is short and lends itself to leisurely enjoyment. It's flat and mostly tree covered, with just a handful of quiet roads and streets to cross.
Parking is at the Watershed Nature Center, 1591 Tower Avenue.
Flat and scenic, this was a good trail for our family of non-avid bikers, pulling a 4 and 2 year old in a trailer. We saw chipmunks, snake, and a couple roosters!
Personally I think this is one of the prettiest trails in the whole MCT network. I always make it a part of my "loop" when I ride the MCT trails. Rode it 10/17/2014 fall colors were beautiful.
Especially the eastern half of the trail. That's where the long bridges are--with their beautiful views of the creeks below. And the overlook at the Nature Center is really stunning. We want to go back soon and spend some time on the walking trails there. When we passed the grade school, all the kids were outside on recess; we had the greatest moment ringing the bike bell and waving to each other. Only later did we discover that's the N.O. Nelson Elementary School. That's the same N.O. Nelson that built nearby Leclaire and the factory buildings still to be seen on the Nickel Plate Trail. The Edwardsville connections. They're really interesting!
I have rode this trail twice as of this date. It will always be my start trail to connect with other trails that Madison County Transit Trails have www.mcttrails.org The trailhead that begins on Wanda Rd in South Roxana is easily accessible with a small 'rideshare' parking lot. The trail is mostly shaded. In my opinion when it is 100 degrees; The ride is still comfortable.
"This is a wonderful trail. For most of the trip you are riding through the woods, with an occasional view of farmland. With a quick eye expect to see squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, possums, ground hogs, and see or hear a variety of birds.
There are some nice resting spots along the way, a lookout over the Watershed preserve, picnic tables, and a small park where you can often catch a kid's baseball game. Several bridges take you over creeks, rails, and the highway.
This five mile trail connects to others so your ride can be extended if desired. The ride is shaded and very quiet for most of the path. "
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