7 Best Biking Trails To Check Out in Springfield, IL
Springfield, Illinois, is a great destination for outdoor activity. Dotted with parks and paths for hiking, walking, and biking, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities to get out and enjoy the sights here. If you’re looking for memorable cycling opportunities in and around Springfield, there are several popular paths and parks that you should check out. Try these recommendations for a memorable ride.
Washington Park has been a popular green space for the Springfield community since 1901. This historic park features a loop road system that’s popular for bicycling as well as running, walking, and even driving around the park. The park offers a wealth of other recreational opportunities including 12 tennis courts, paddle tennis courts, a playground, a band pavilion, and two lagoons.
The Interurban Trail spans 8.4 miles from Junction Circle in Springfield to Walnut Street in Chatham. It follows the old interurban railway line. This asphalt trail passes through the Legacy Pointe Development and crosses Lake Springfield, offering scenic views of the water. It crosses the Norfolk and Southern Railway line as well via a bridge. The trail follows a former electric rail-line corridor, which makes most of the landscape flat and straight. However, the trail has some changes in elevation around the Springfield end.
Construction along the trail has temporarily created a steep elevation to a bridge over the railroad tracks that some cyclists refer to as “Mount Doom,” so you may want to check the construction’s current status before you begin your trek.
A planned expansion for the trail will nearly double the length to 16.2 miles, extending it south of Chatham along the railway line to Sangamon County. The Interurban Trail connects to the Wabash Trail via a 0.4-mile connection.
Lost Bridge Trail
The 5.5-mile Lost Bridge Trail begins at the parking lot for the Illinois Department of Transportation in Springfield. The trail loops around the Illinois Department of Transportation Lake passes under Interstate 55 and follows the abandoned railroad bed of the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line to Rochester. This is one of the hillier trails in the region, with a steep slope at the Springfield end as you approach the lake. The scenic route also crosses several creeks. Primarily shaded, this is a popular choice in the hot summer months.
Proposed extensions to the trail would take it southeast to Taylorville and Pana.
Sangamon Valley Trail
The original Sangamon Valley Trail covers 5.5 miles, traveling from Stuart Park to Centennial Park. It features bridges over Old Jacksonville Road, Washington Street, and Highway 97. You’ll cruise past farm fields, pass through the woods, and bike by subdivisions. While this trail features several bridges, the most impressive by far is the one over Spring Creek. This is a popular place to stop for a break, though you’ll want to be cautious of the steep bank.
In 2017, this trail received a 6-mile extension from Stuart Park to Irwin Bridge Road with two scenic bridges. This section of the trail offers stunning views of the historic Sangamon River. Portions of the trail follow the abandoned St. Louis, Peoria, and North Western Railway. Future plans for the trail may extend it to 33 miles, which would make it the longest multi-use trail in Sangamon County.
Located on Springfield’s southwest side, the Wabash Trail spans just 3 miles along an old railway right-of-way. The trail begins near Wabash Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard and ends at Robbins Road. You can also hop on the trail at the parking lot at Park Avenue. This trail passes through residential, commercial, and industrial lots and is straight and flat throughout.
Though this is one of the shorter trails in Springfield, this is a great choice if you want an easy ride for the family with plenty of opportunities to hop off the trail, as you’ll pass Westchester Park and Vredenburgh Park. Alternately, you might stop around S. Park Street and Wabash Avenue for shopping and dining opportunities. From the parking lot at the end of the trail, you can hop right onto the Interurban Trail and continue your journey.
Lincoln Prairie Trail
Covering 14.8 miles, this is a great choice if you’re looking for a longer biking trail. The trail is situated along a repurposed railroad bed and passes four original railroad bridges. The trail follows State Route 29, beginning west of Pana on County Route 12 and running to Paw Paw Street in Taylorville. There are no major restaurants or service stations along the route, but you can stop in Owaneco around the halfway point for a rest.
This paved trail is primarily flat and is typically well maintained. The only hazards to watch for are the honey locust trees which can present a thorny intrusion in some shaded areas.
Tips for Biking in Springfield
Springfield offers several outstanding biking opportunities, but it’s important to make sure you’re following the rules of the road so you can enjoy these destinations safely. If you’d prefer to bike through Springfield along the city’s roadways, there are plenty of opportunities for you to do so. Many roads even have a designated bike lane. When biking on the road, ride in a straight line in the direction of traffic. Always signal your intention to turn, so motorists are aware of the direction you’re traveling.
The League of Illinois Bicyclists is a statewide advocacy group for cyclists. The league works actively to create more and safer bike paths throughout the city. The Springfield Bike Club is another great resource for those interested in cycling in and around the city. The club sponsors recreational rides that take place throughout the year. These provide an excellent opportunity to interact with others who are interested in cycling.
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Did we include all your favorite cycling spots in Springfield on our list? If we missed a great destination, reach out to our team at Freedom Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and let us know so we can update our information and provide our customers with the best recommendations for outdoor recreation.