IandM Canal Trail

Chicago, Illinois

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In 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal provided the final shipping link between the East Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico. From Chicago the canal angled southwest, running beside the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers halfway across the state. Thanks to the 96-mile-long canal, Chicago quickly became the largest and most efficient grain market in the world. The canal towpath, originally used by mules for pulling boats through the canal, has been transformed into a 61.9-mile crushed gravel path running from the outskirts of Joliet to the town of La Salle. From end to end, the route wanders through a variety of landscapes: dense woods, marshes, prairies, riverbank, agricultural land, and small towns. The length of this trail may present a challenge even for well-prepared athletes. While amenities exist along the way, some sections are very remote. The trail crosses a handful of busy roads. Use caution while crossing these. Small sections of the trail are occasionally closed due to erosion.

I&M Canal Trail Professional Review and Guide

"In 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal provided the final shipping link between the East Coast of the United States and the Gulf of Mexico. From Chicago the canal angled southwest, running beside the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers halfway across the state. Thanks to the 96-mile-long canal, Chicago quickly became the largest and most efficient grain market in the world. The canal towpath, originally used by mules for pulling boats through the canal, has been transformed into a 61.9-mile crushed gravel path running from the outskirts of Joliet to the town of La Salle.

From end to end, the route wanders through a variety of landscapes: dense woods, marshes, prairies, riverbank, agricultural land, and small towns. The length of this trail may present a challenge even for well-prepared athletes. While amenities exist along the way, some sections are very remote. The trail crosses a handful of busy roads. Use caution while crossing these. Small sections of the trail are occasionally closed due to erosion."

Activity Type: Road Biking
Nearby City: Chicago
Distance: 61.9
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Riding Time: 6 hours
Local Maps: USGS Channahon, Elwood, La Salle, Marseilles, Minooka, Morris, Ottawa, Seneca, Starved Rock DeLorme: Illinois Atlas and Gazetteer: Pages 34–36 Illinois Bicycle Map, Region 3, Illinois Department of Transportation, www.dot.state.il.us/bikemap/state .html
Driving Directions: Directions to I&M Canal Trail

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May 2018