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The first 5.5-mile segment of the 38-mile Sangamon Valley Trail opened in summer 2011 and runs between Centennial Park and Stuart Park in Springfield. In 2017, a 6-mile extension was opened between Stuart Park and Irwin Bridge Rd. The paved addition features two bridges that put trail users eye-level with the tree line. The trail extension enables the recreational pathway to cross the Sangamon River, the river that provided the trail with its name. When complete, the Sangamon Valley Trail will link Girard and Athens, as well as the towns between. The trail follows an abandoned right-of-way of the old St. Louis, Peoria and North Western Railway, which later became part of the Chicago and North Western Railroad. The north-south trail is located in western Sangamon County.
There is trail access at all its street crossings south of Old Jacksonville Road. The only trail parking is in the parks at its end points. Located in the extreme southwest corner of Springfield, Centennial Park is easy to get to and has two parking lots with direct access to the trail. To get there from I-72, take the Wabash Avenue exit and turn northeast toward Springfield. Upon entering the sweeping curve to the east, turn left onto Bunker Hill Road. Proceed just over 1/2 mile till you see the turn-ins to the park and parking on the right.
For the extension north of Stuart Park, you can park at Cantrall Creek Road, which is about 0.5 miles west of Brown Rd. and a mile from the Irwin Bridge Rd. endpoint.
It was pretty clear that they will be expanding this trail beyond it's current run from Stuart Park to Centennial Park. Due to time constraints I rode from Stuart to Iles Ave. and back. There's a very slight uphill run over that length, but it's not at all noticeable because the trail is very smooth. There were a constant flow of trail users, but it didn't feel crowded at all. There seemed to be an above average number of dog walkers on the trail, but I chalked that up to the dog run located in Stuart Park.
I had spent the day in workshops and at the State Capitol, so this was a perfect way to burn off some energy before a long drive home. I was very glad I made the stop and will likely do this again when I'm in Springfield.
This trail is fairly flat but very well maintained. The City of Springfield really does a superb job with all of its bike paths and should be a model project for all Illinois communities.
A mix of open and tree covered canopy type cover, it has 4 or 5 road crossings which are low traffic excluding one that you have to pay close attention too.
Over all distance park to park is 12.25 miles, parking lot to parking lot. Mid way bench rest areas for those that desire a break.
I give it a A+ for its category of being flat.
This is a new trail for our family and has become a favorite of ours.
We start off near the Bunker Hill Road entrance and it's nice and flat ... until you get the last part near Stuart Park ... a few hills to deal with but not bad (nothing big) ... nice and steady and you can make it. Just don't take bikes too fast the down hill parts as there are quick, sharp turns to make.
Great area to walk or ride. Lovely bridges along the way.
Nice area, well maintained. Highly recommend to try.
This trail is nicely paved, but very little shade. If you don't mind the heat, this path is smooth and maintained.
I was most impressed with the surface of this trail, light colored so it won't be scorching hot in summer, little bit of roughness to it so won't be slick when wet but most of all no cracks,holes or raised/sunken spots for the whole 5.5 miles. Great parking at both ends n enough in between also. At the southern 1/2, it has a few little kiddies parks,a golf course and nice homes that are close enough to seek help and I would think keep mischief at bay but yet not take away from the "in nature " feeling. The northern 1/2 was more shaded n secluded, ending at a park. There were a few street crossings through out the trail but well marked for cars and those on the trail. What road crossings there were, were subdivision type streets n not busy. Also they mowed along both sides of the trail so I think you could run on the softer surface of grass about the whole 5.5 miles if you wished. But I think they could have had a water stop or two since they were close to a couple of homes to have tapped into. Also the there was a little sloping off to the side but I guess it was needed for water to drain. I didn't see anywhere that water would puddle which is amazing. Very wide trail also
..of the more extended trail yet to come. Sept '12. We found a small new parking lot on the west side of the southern trail end. There were also porta potties there and at the parking lots in both trail end parks.
The southern half of the trail has five grade-level crossings, which are good for access but can slow down trail users. The first two -- if you're northbound from Centennial Park -- make it easy to look ahead for cars, so you don't have to slow down if you don't need to. But the last two have various trees and topography that necessitate slowing to a crawl just to see if a car is coming.
But after the last crossing -- at about the 2.8-mile mark -- the northern half of the trail is smooth sailing all the way to Stuart Park.
The scenery is mostly suburban in the southern half with some nice wooded areas in the northern half. At the 2-mile mark, there is a cool/creepy abandoned grain elevator complex. There is ample signage along the trail and several benches are available at various points. The existing trestles have been fitted with some nice wooden approaches.
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