Sangamon River Trail


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Sangamon River Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Piatt
Length: 1.2 miles
Trail end points: N. Railroad Street and Green Apple Lane
Trail surfaces: Concrete, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7468916
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Sangamon River Trail Description

Monticello is a small, central Illinois town steeped in a railroad history it still celebrates. Its Chamber of Commerce has offices and special activities in the historical downtown train depot. And the large and very active Monticello Railway Museum restores old railroad equipment and takes scheduled tour rides with restored cars and locomotives into the depot from its yards and shops just north of town.

Monticello was once a hub of the electric Interurban Railway of the Illinois Traction System that linked dozens of small towns and cities across central Illinois. Its miles and miles of disused track and right-of-way are now being redeveloped into multi-use recreational trails like this one built and maintained by the City of Monticello.

For just over a mile, the Sangamon River Trail follows the former route of the Illinois Central Railroad, which carried passengers from Chicago to New Orleans. The older, eastern section of the trail is paved and includes a long, historical railroad bridge across the Sangamon River. A newer and yet unpaved section of the trail continues west to connect to a residential neighborhood and the city's public library. The trail thus provides a flat and densely wooded corridor between the city center and the new Allerton library. Note that the unpaved section is surfaced in gravel that is best suited to mountain bikes.

At the eastern end of this trail, an active rail line continues past the old Wabash Depot downtown and the East Prairie Bicycle & Walking Path, on toward the Railroad Museum to the north.

Parking and Trail Access

At the midpoint of the trail, there is a small off-street pull-in area for parking. From I-72, take Exit 164 and turn southeast (toward Monticello) on W. Bridge St./W. Center St. Proceed a short distance and turn right onto County Farm Road. Go 500 feet and look for the trail entrance on the left.

Just beyond the western trail end, there is more ample parking at the Allerton Public Library District – on Green Apple Lane, just off County Road 1625 N.

Sangamon River Trail Reviews

After recovering from a fire in spring of 2012, that destroyed the trestle and decking leading up to the bridge, the City of Monticello Public Works Department rebuilt the pathway in winter of 2012. Taking it one step further, concrete was laid on the 0.6-mile trail surface, creating a smoother trail for walkers, bikers and runners! Come enjoy the forest, Sangamon River, and Monticello!

Due to be paved in 2013, this trail still is great for walking and bicycling. The trestle and bridge offer great scenery of the Sangamon River. City of Monticello administration is working towards extending the trail across County Farm Road.

A walk on this trail is like a step back in history. The long, old railroad trestle bridge. The tall canopy of trees on either side. And the surface that is still old railroad ballast, just like it was when once it supported ties and rails. It will be so good when one day this trail connects with the East Prairie Bicycle Trail and a planned, 7-mile rail-trail to run south to the village of Bement.

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