This portion of the Grand Illinois Trail consists mostly of the Lakefront path, the Old Plank Road Trail, part of the I&M Canal Trail, and the Hennepin Canal Trail. The Lakefront path is asphalt, and the other three are screened limestone (or something resembling it.) The trail is mostly flat, and the bike path portions are tied together by city streets and country roads, which are, for the most part, low traffic. You can expect to cover this portion of the trail in about 200-250 miles, depending on where you start on the Lakefront path, and how far you get from the path while seeking out hotels and refreshment.
- League of Illinois Bicyclists Grand Illinois Trail Guide
- Grand Illinois Trail page (with counter-clockwise directions)
Links to Maps (for preparation)
These are the maps I created to prepare for the trip. I uploaded them to my GPS before taking off. These have not been verified for accuracy. In fact, my experience has made me distrustful of the hotel listings-- call ahead! Let me know if you want me to make you a collaborator on any of these maps so that you can add, edit, and delete points.
Grand Illinois Trail Checkpoints (approximate)
This map covers the checkpoints for the entire trail, not just the southern portion.
- Hotels on or near the Trail
Call ahead! On my trip two hotels had changed names and ownership, and one had been closed completely!
- Intersections on the 2004 Cue Sheet
These intersections were taken from the League of Illinois Bicyclists clockwise cue sheets. Color changes represent transitions between cue sheet sections. There are large gaps in the map where there are bike trails (because you don't need to follow intersections when you're on a bike trail.)
Photographs on Maps
- Checkpoints (Approximate)
- Flora and fauna
The plants and animals that I identified, I used field guides at the library. If you find a misidentification, please let me know.
- General scenery
Includes my meanderings off the trail. Note that portions of the I&M Canal Bike Trail were closed due to flooding in 2008 and I had to take parallel roads.
Secret link... me!