Village of Rantoul Trail

Illinois

4 Reviews

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Village of Rantoul Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Champaign
Length: 7.9 miles
Trail end points: Glenwood Park just south of W. Grove Ave. and Wheat Ave. just east of W. Liberty Dr. (US 45)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7636759

Village of Rantoul Trail Description

This is a story of four trails in one. The newest and northwestern section of the trail runs by the old downtown area of the village and its local Amtrak station. Then across the northern section there’s a beautifully landscaped rail-trail along the former alignment of the Fisher Farmers Railroad, which connected the north side of Rantoul to farming communities to its east and west. The city section in the middle goes by businesses and housing on Maplewood Drive and around the tranquil storm water detention pond where fishing is permitted.

The southern section of the trail mostly goes through parts of the former Chanute Air Force Base, which closed in 1993. Here there are numerous village facilities and small businesses close to the trail: Baerman Park (old Air Force parade grounds), Aquatic Center, Forum Fitness Center, Rantoul Recreation Center, Youth Center, Public Library and Civic Center. Most of these have restrooms and water fountains. Of special note and interest to visitors are the Chanute Air Museum (now closed) and Lincoln's Challenge Academy.

Parking and Trail Access

Parking is available at all the village facilities along the trail. There are also lots by locations of special interest to out-of-town visitors. The Amtrak train station, the Maplewood Detention Pond and the former Chanute Air Museum (1011 Pacesetter Drive). To reach the large parking lot at the museum from I-57, take Exit 250 onto US 136 East. Follow the highway 1.7 miles into the village and turn right onto Century Boulevard/US 45. Continue south for 0.9 mile and turn left onto Flessner Avenue. Proceed 1 block onto Aviation Road and Pacesetter Drive; the parking lot is on the left.

Village of Rantoul Trail Reviews

A Pleasant Surprise

s

Our family parked @ the east access point near Taylor Studios and rode the entire trail system a couple of times. The trails are in good shape and well marked. We did stray off the trail a bit visiting the downtown area and the former Air Force base. There are many historic buildings still standing at Chanute AFB and the downtown area boasts some great eating options and an old school cinema with a beautiful marquee still intact (though now closed). We ate lunch at a Thai food joint a few doors down from the cinema and the food and service were excellent. After a day of riding, we ended our time in Rantoul at the Hap Parker Pool - which is the public swimming complex. The pool features a couple of nice water slides and a large swimming area. All around a nice day of exercise, eating and sight seeing.

Neat trail

s

We started off at the storm water detention pond parking area. Nice parking lot with a porta potty and the large pond is filled with goldfish or koi. Then we went North and rode the East-West section that is the old rail line. Let the kids play at a playground that's right on the trail. Finished off with a ride around historic downtown that is just off the west end of the of the old rail line trail. Not much wildlife to view but a very flat, somewhat smooth, urban trail.

The Good And The Ugly

s

This bike path has trails that is good and ugly. The newer addition is through housing area (Good), Maple wood Dr path near a busy road and at one point you will have to cross a busy street (Ugly), the next section is a nice ride around a small pound (Good) from there your path take you on the the old Chanute Base, then back into town near a park (good) back on Chanute again ending near the water park (Good & Ugly).
Be prepare there is a lot of roads to cross therefore a lot of stop signs to master.

Three dimensions of goodness..

s

* Access to the old Chanute AFB. I grew up about 60 miles away. Mostly in those early years when the road to Chicago was on Route 45, which ran right by the gated and guarded Air Base, I often wondered what the place looked like on the inside. Now I know! This trail goes right through the old base and you can ride around among all the old buildings and grounds at will. The museum is also very interesting.
** The new rail-trail section on the north is very nicely landscaped. A great example of a linear park by neighborhoods and a school.
*** And then there's the way the trail connects so many public facilities throughout town. What a comfortable and safe way to ride or walk between one's home, work, school, shopping, or other public place.

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