Hike Through An Abandoned Railway In Illinois For An Incredible Terrestrial Adventure

If you are into history and some peace and quiet, the Great Western Trail in Illinois will take you on a hike through an abandoned railway into the lush land of terrestrial plants and wildlife. It is divided into sections of the abandoned Chicago Great Western Railway corridor, and its history is fascinating. The Railway was founded in 1885 linking Chicago, Omaha, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. The regional line called the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad, between St. Paul and the Iowa state line, merged with the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1968.

Through this process, most of the Chicago Great Western Railway’s trackage was abandoned. At the time of the merger, the 1,411 mile-railway system transported 2,452 million ton-miles of freight, mostly comprised of agricultural products, chemicals, and lumber. What is left are beautiful trails for biking, walking, and running, full of wetlands, streams, and remnants of pastoral prairies. In its heyday, as an important part of the economy, the railroad brought in $28.7 million of revenue in 1967, just one year before the merger.

Hopefully you are getting a plan together to hike through this interesting, abandoned railway in Illinois.

For a similar adventure, check out the amazing Tunnel Hill Rail Trail in Illinois that takes you through an abandoned train tunnel. Have a great time and let us know how it goes!

Address: Illinois Caverns State Natural Area, 4369 G Rd, Waterloo, IL 62298, USA
Address: LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean St, St. Charles, IL 60175, USA