I rode on the newly paved section of the Centennial Trail that has the old bridge that used to be the 135th St. one many years back about a month back. (Coming north from Lockport, once you get to the 135th St. bridge about 3 miles north of Lockport, turn right onto the old 135th St., then make the u-turn onto the bridge and cross the canal and ship canal, then make a right and you're in.) Think it's done all the way to Willow Springs. You'll be in Cook Co. as soon as you go underneath the big I-355 bridge then shortly after going under Lemont Rd., you'll share the road w/ the dump trucks for a mile or so then be back on the trail. I only went as far as about 1/4 mile past Lemont Rd. bridge.
The centennial trail is good between Willow Springs road and Ruby St. in Joliet. It diverges from the I&M canal towpath trail north of 135th street. Make sure you get on the trail which is south of the Des Plaines but north of the Cal Sag. If you turn off at the Speedway on Willow Springs road just north of the bridge which crosses both waterways, there is a remnant of the older road to the west of the new bridge's foundation which crosses the Des Plaines. At its end you will find the trailhead. It's probabaly marked but I never looked because I was already on the trail coming from the southwest.
You can see the double I&M canal trail going northeast and southwest from that bridge in Willow Springs but it does not go through at route 83, and if you got back on it in Lemont it would not go through to 135th street. It was very overgrown when I tried to go west from Lemont road a couple of months ago. You can take it from willow springs to 83 and then go north on 83 on the west side, where you'll see Centennial trail, but you can also just take Centennial trail from Willow Springs to Joliet.
Last edited by garage sale GT; 08-22-09 at 08:55 PM.
So I'm going to try this trail tomorrow. Hope to go from Willow Springs and head towards Joliet. Was going to try and get in around 30 - 40 miles total. But I'm a little confused about which trail to take. I've look at the Cook Count Forest Preserve site and notice that they have a parking lot at Willow Springs Road. And there is a Centennial trail and a I& M trail. So can I just head south out of the forest preserve parking lot on the Centennial trail down towards Rt 83. Or do I have to cross over somewhere at the beginning of the ride?
SoSo can I just head south out of the forest preserve parking lot on the Centennial trail down towards Rt 83. Or do I have to cross over somewhere at the beginning of the ride?
Centennial trail goes all the way through, and merges with the I&M canal towpath trail in Romeoville. When you reach 135th street, cross the I&M canal going east on 135th and you can pick up the trail again. You have to do a hairpin turn north, then west, then go under the bridge.
The I&M trail from Willow Springs does not go through but ends at Rt. 83. You can get up on Rt. 83 and go north until you see centennial trail. There is a break in the concrete barriers leading to a gated dirt road, and the paved path extends up to connect with the barrier-protected sidewalk on that raised part of 83.
There is a section of the I&M trail in Lemont but it is not connected at either end and at least a few months ago it didn't look like anyone was maintaining the southbound trail.