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  1. #1
    Senior Member rockindude24's Avatar
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    I & M Canal Trail?

    Anyone here ride the I & M Canal State Trail in Illinois? Just wondering how the surface is the entire way. Is it limestone the whole way or are there rough sections like the terrible Pecatonica Prairie Path? Just wondering because I'm thinking about a couple day tour by stopping at Starved Rock State Park. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockindude24
    Anyone here ride the I & M Canal State Trail in Illinois? Just wondering how the surface is the entire way. Is it limestone the whole way or are there rough sections like the terrible Pecatonica Prairie Path? Just wondering because I'm thinking about a couple day tour by stopping at Starved Rock State Park. Thanks.
    I rode it between Joilet and Peru in May of 2004, Trail conditions varied between paved bike path and 18" wide hard pack but it was all a pretty easy ride.

  3. #3
    Peddler Seamless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad
    18" wide hard pack but it was all a pretty easy ride.
    Well, duh, Smilin' Bob, you would say that.
    `,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,`,
    2005 Cannondale Road Warrior 800

  4. #4
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    I have ridden it a few times, but not in the past year. It was fine the whole length. I has on a hybrid. Short little jaunt from LaSalle/Peru over to the Hennepin Canal Path and you can then go all the way to the Quad Cities!

  5. #5
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seamless
    Well, duh, Smilin' Bob, you would say that.
    If that were the case I shouldn't have been on Bike forums at 10:40 at night

  6. #6
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    My wife and I rode the I&M Canal last year as part of a Grand Illinois Trail trip. The I&M is a great ride., and we plan to do it again. There's lots of wildlife in the mornings and afternoons, and there are some interesting places to visit along the way.

    The surface is crushed limestone all the way. There are a few spots where the limestone is aged, and there is rough mile along an industrial road near Marseilles or Seneca ... but it's nothing like the Pecatonica Prairie Path. [Pecatonica Prairie Path is two dirt ruts with knee high weeds in the middle]

    You might want to check trail conditins with the DNR staff at Gebhard Woods State Park a few days before your ride. We ran into two trail blockages in April and May 2006 ... pipeline construction between Joliet and Channahon; and a tornado downed trees and caused a washout near Buffalo Rock State Park just west of Ottawa. All that was cleared up by mid June.

    Here are some photos

    Joliet to Morris
    Buffalo Rock State Park (Ottawa) to Gebhard Woods State Park ( Morris)
    Seatonville to Buffalo Rock
    [That trip to Seatonville was part of our connection between the I&M Canal and the Hennepin Canal Trails]

    Larry
    Last edited by Recycle; 01-26-07 at 09:38 AM.

  7. #7
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    I live in LaSalle, right at the end (start?) of the Canal. The path is smooth crushed limestone all the way to Channahon. Also, I recommend trying to get a copy of The Complete Grand Illinois Trail Guidebook by Todd Volker. It's an excellent guide to the I&M Canal Trail and the rest of the GIT.

  8. #8
    Senior Member shider's Avatar
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    My wife and I rode about 35 miles of it just west of LaSalle on our tandem with 700x30c tires. The surface varied from chip seal to gravel but with the exception of some very small patches of sand, we didn't have any problems or discomfort. I don't think we hit that dog hard enough to cause it any problems either, but that's another story...

  9. #9
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    Sorry to bring up an old thread. I have a takuto road bike. Would I be ok on the trail from morris to marseilles?

  10. #10
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    It's been a year since I was on that section, so hopefully someone with more recent experience will join in. I don't know your bike, but I would want about 700x32tires. There has been a lot of rain lately and there may be some soft, muddy spots between Seneca and Marseilles. It would certainly be rutted and very soft between Marseilles and Ottawa. Fortunately, if the tow path is too soft, you can jump off to ride one of the roads that parallel the canal.

    Call the DNR at Gebhardt Woods to check current conditions.

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