Towanda Route 66 Parkway

Illinois

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Towanda Route 66 Parkway Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: McLean
Length: 7 miles
Trail end points: The pavilion 2.5 miles north of the S. Jefferson St. stop (Towanda) and Towanda Ave. (Normal)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 10184615
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Towanda Route 66 Parkway Description

The Towanda Route 66 Parkway is the longest and most developed of the Route 66 trails in northeast McLean County. Its centerpiece is the well-appointed, community-sponsored linear parkway within the village of Towanda itself. One can begin at the central parking area (listed at the top of the Parking and Trail Access information below) and walk or ride both ways from there to see the park at its finest.

Park features include:

  • Beautiful gardens and landscaping with signage about Historic Route 66 and brochures about the features and history of the park and highway

  • A Geographic Journey: a series of eight artistic displays about each of the states traversed by the Mother Road on its long journey from Illinois to California

  • Signs with old photos and stories about early Route 66 landmarks in Towanda

  • Series of iconic old Burma-Shave road signs that used to be ubiquitous along this and many of America’s highways

  • Commemorative markers naming those from the community that donated resources toward building the park

(See the Related Content and the photo gallery on this page for more details.)

The Towanda Route 66 Trail extends to the north of the village over the same south-bound lanes of the 1954 highway as those traveled by the other two northeast McLean County trails—the Chenoa Route 66 Prairie Trail and Lexington’s Route 66 Trail. There are corn and soybean fields on all sides and an old concrete bridge across Money Creek. The trail ends where I-55—the replacement route for Highway 66—encroaches on the former route’s alignment.

At the southern end of the Towanda trail’s center section, there is a nice park and well-stocked fishing lake. Then I-55 again crowds out the southbound lanes of the old Route 66 alignment and the trail crosses to continue along beside what was before the northbound lanes of the highway. And so it goes—train track on one side, Old U.S. Route 66 on the other—all the way to Normal, Illinois, and a future connection to the Constitution Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

This trail has designated parking and trail access at three locations:

  • On the south side of the gas station/convenience store lot at the 4-way stop in Towanda. That is, at the intersection of Old U.S. Route 66 and S. Jefferson St. 

  • At the trail end and pavilion, 2.5 miles north of the S. Jefferson St. stop. 

  • At the entrance to Boyd Wesley Park, 0.7 miles south of the S. Jefferson St. stop—just 0.2 miles north of where the trail crosses Historical Route 66. There is additional parking in the park itself.

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