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The Vandalia Trail is the longest open component of the National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT), a proposed border-to-border trail stretching between Terre Haute and Richmond, a span of more than 150 miles. Much of the NRHT occupies part of a former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor—the successor to the Vandalia Railroad—which closely parallels the Historic National Road.
The Vandalia Trail consists of two disconnected segments. The first segment runs nearly 12 miles from Greencastle to Amo. The second segment runs about 4 miles through the suburban neighborhoods and parks of Plainfield.
Starting in Greencastle, visitors will find trailhead parking and a gazebo. However, the route goes 0.6 mile on lightly traveled North Calbert Way until the official separated trail begins. The trail surface is packed crushed stone into Coatesville. The path includes several covered shelters along the way.
This section of trail, through Fillmore and into Coatesville, is largely uninterrupted by road crossings and offers trailside wildflowers with an abundance of birds and butterflies and farm fields. Bluebirds, finches, and herons frequent this corridor, offering excellent birding opportunities. In both Fillmore and Coatesville, trailside businesses provide a place to rest and get a bite to eat. A separate bridle trail parallels much of the path and occasionally joins the main trail, but horses are required to remain on the grass in these combined stretches.
For the remaining 3 miles, from Coatesville to Amo, the Vandalia Trail traverses enchanted woodlands along an elevated railbed leading up to the trestle 30 feet above Crittenden Creek. A separate horse trail follows beside the main path, and there is a hitch rail at Crittenden Creek. This stretch is smooth pavement and well-maintained into Amo. Modern restrooms have been installed at both the Coatesville and Amo trailheads.
The 4.6-mile Plainfield segment begins with a trailhead at its western end on Vandalia Boulevard. For now, this paved section is the only portion of the trail appropriate for in-line skating and wheelchairs. Heading east from the starting point, the route travels through woodlands behind residential communities and then through a tunnel under the Saratoga Parkway to the Splash Island Family Waterpark.
Immediately past the water park, the path intersects with the White Lick Creek Trail, which heads south at the circular intersection. Go left over the bridge to stay on the Vandalia Trail as it navigates past the ballparks and playgrounds of Franklin Park. The trail continues into the neighborhood and takes a sharp left onto North East Street, heading up a short hill. At the top of the hill, the scenery changes as you wind your way out of the neighborhood. The trail takes on a more remote feeling as it passes through woodlands to the parking lot at the trail’s end.
The Plainfield trail is heavily used by the local community; expect to see walkers, runners, dog walkers, and cyclists.
On the east end of the trail in Plainfield, parking is available at the trailhead at the end of Township Line Road, at Franklin Park, and at Splash Island Family Waterpark. To reach the parking lot at Township Line Road, take I-70 to Exit 68 for Ronald Reagan Pkwy. N. Go 3 miles on the exit ramp, veering right for the northbound parkway, and continue onto Ronald Reagan Pkwy. an additional 1.3 miles. Turn left onto Stout Heritage Pkwy. Go 1 mile and turn right onto Perry Road. Go 1 mile to the traffic circle and take the third exit (heading left, south) onto Smith Road. Take an immediate right onto Township Line Road to the trailside parking lot.
In Amo, parking can be found at the small lot 1 block west of the intersection of Railroad Street and Vine Street. Horse trailer parking is available in front of the restored Interurban Depot at the intersection of Pearl Street and South Street, which offers a steel hitch rail.
In Coatesville, you can park your car anywhere in the business district near the intersection of Railroad Street and Milton Street. Horse trailer parking is available where the trail intersects Mill Street just south of Main Street (behind the grain silo on the west side of town). Park between Mill Street and the wooden hitch rail about 100 feet to the east.
Just to the west of Fillmore, there is a small trailhead with parking at the northern end of County Road 475 E.
On the west end of the trail in Greencastle, a trailhead with parking can be found at the intersection of N. Calbert Way and Indianapolis Road/IN 240. Take I-70 to Exit 59 for IN 39. Head north toward Belleville. Go 4.3 miles and turn left onto US 40. Go 9.9 miles and turn right onto County Road 200 S./IN 240. Go 8.6 miles and turn right onto N. Calbert Way to find the trailhead 200 feet on your left.
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