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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.
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.
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