Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail

Rockdale, Illinois

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5 Reviews
4 out of 5
The trail begins in Rockdale and makes its way through Channahon, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, and Utica before finishing in LaSalle. Steeped in historical significance, this 110-mile total out-and-back former towpath makes for a beautiful, relaxing ride along the I & M Canal. The trail surface is base gravel with limestone. Riders of all ages will enjoy the serenity of this out-and-back trail, disturbed only occasionally by a "plop" as one to the countless turtles sunning on logs dives into the water or by the occasional boat and barge traffic from either the Des Plaines River or the Illinois River. Even though there is intermittent industry on the other side of the waterways, you'll be able to overlook that as you admire the variety of bird life along the canal. I've seen bluebirds, goldfinches, herons, kingfishers, woodpeckers, egrets, and scarlet tanagers. It's a bird watcher's paradise. Also, of note is the view from Starved Rock- well worth the climb.
Mountain Bike! Midwest

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Mountain Bike! Midwest

by Richard Ries & Dave Shepherd (Menasha Ridge Press)

The trail begins in Rockdale and makes its way through Channahon, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, and Utica before finishing in LaSalle. Steeped in historical significance, this 110-mile total out-and-back former towpath makes for a beautiful, relaxing ride along the I & M Canal. The trail surface is base gravel with limestone. Riders of all ages will enjoy the serenity of this out-and-back trail, disturbed only occasionally by a "plop" as one to the countless turtles sunning on logs dives into the water or by the occasional boat and barge traffic from either the Des Plaines River or the Illinois River.

Even though there is intermittent industry on the other side of the waterways, you'll be able to overlook that as you admire the variety of bird life along the canal. I've seen bluebirds, goldfinches, herons, kingfishers, woodpeckers, egrets, and scarlet tanagers. It's a bird watcher's paradise. Also, of note is the view from Starved Rock- well worth the climb.

©  Richard Ries & Dave Shepherd/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Rockdale
Distance: 122
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Technical Difficulty: Easy
Physical Difficulty: Easy
Season: Any time
Local Contacts: Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, 815-942-0796
Local Maps: You can get a map of the trail from the information center, visitor center, and ranger stations. The Heritage Corridor also has trail information. USGS: Channahon, Minooka, Coal City, Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, and Ottawa.
Driving Directions: Directions to Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

7/1/2014
0

Simply amazing trail. Will transport you back 150 years. Lots of wildlife - esp Turtles in Summer. Have been doing it a stage at a time, and have made it from Chicago to Starved Rock.


7/1/2009
1

I ride various pieces of this trail several times a year. Pretty under utilized and a "contemplative" ride. Frequent wildlife (herons, muskrats, kingfishers, one weasel and a zillion snakes in the spring). Flat and in generally good shape after the late spring dry-up.


7/26/2008
1

Over several outings in 2008, I eventually rode the entire 60+ mile trail from Rockdale to LaSalle-Peru. Along the way, I saw deer, rabbits, herons, beaver and finally a bald eagle. A lot of good places to take pictures. The trail markers do a pretty good job of informing you of each mile traveled, as well as distance to the next landmark or trail access. You will pass through Morris, Seneca, Marseilles, Ottawa, and Utica. Bring water. As just a side note, I was amused by the small "STOP" sign that was posted at the very end at LaSalle-Peru. It was as if to say, "Whoa cowboy, you're all done! That's it!" Anyway, this is a great trail and I look forward to riding this trail to the end again in 2010.


5/5/2008
0

I live in channahon,illinois and ride my bike there on a daily basis...I also load my bike and drive to different parking areas and ride at least 16 miles per day...what a beautiful path...I now own a tandem kayak and am looking forward to paddling in different spots...see ya...happy peddling and paddling...bob c.


5/14/2006
0

I ride from the I&M State Park site in Channahon and take the trail to Seneca. The trail is paved in areas, but mostlt gravel and dirt. The trail is flat but offers one heck of a leg workout if you push yourself at a constant pace. This is the only trail in the area I live in that is a hop-skip-jump away from home that allows you to lose yourself. There is water on both sidea of the trail which allows a lot of wild life on and off the trail. Although the trail is flat and might sound simple, pack supplies. I mean water, powerbars or other snacks. There are limited rest areas and only one place that you can leave the trail and find stores and that is in Morris.



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May 2018