Check out the trail map
The Old Plank Road Trail is a 22-mile long paved rail-trail that connects the towns of Joliet, New Lenox,
Frankfort, Matteson, Richton Park, Park Forest, and Chicago Heights.
Click on the map to go to the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) map page to view an enlarged copy of the latest trail
Using the menu at the top of the pages you can find out more about special trail events, about the animals and
plants you’ll see along the trail, and about the conversion of a railroad property into a hiking and biking trail.
From 1855 until 1975 the Michigan Central Railroad ran freight and passenger trains along this route. Before
that it was a plank road and part of the Great Sauk trail that ran from Rock Island to Detroit.
Trail of the
The Old Plank Road Trail is the
featured trail on the Rails-to-
Trails website this month. Click
here or on the rails-to-trails logo
to go to that story.
Dozens of north-south trains
cross over the Old Plank Road
Trail at Matteson while dozens
more run east-west on the former
Elgin, Joliet and Eastern tracks that parallel the OPRT about a half mile to the south. The Matteson METRA
station platform is also a good train viewing location. Click here for more CN-Connection info.
Click here for pictures of some recent trains passing the Park Forest Railfan park.
OPRT has 128,000 users a year
Steve Buchtel, executive director of Trails for Illinois recently released a trail usage report, Making Trails
Count in Illinois. The group installed 18 electronic sensors on six non-motorized trails in Illinois and tallied the
number of joggers, walkers, and cyclists using the trails for a 13-week period in 2012. The data was analyzed by
scientists at the University of Illinois. You can download and read a copy of the 28-page final report by clicking
on Making Trails Count in Illinois.
The study found that trails impact local economies; people spend money at businesses along trails, trails
strengthen environmental stewardship, and trails help people to maintain and improve their health and fitness.
Download your own copy of the report to see the full story in numbers and dollars.
Take a tour of the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) without leaving your computer. Click here to go to the photo
Trail Patches are available
Earn a patch for completing the 20-mile trail in one trip or several smaller trips. Patches are full color,
embroidered, and 2.5 inches in diameter, and ideal for sewing onto vests or backpacks. Patches sell for $3.00
each and come in two styles: hiking and cycling. Payment is accepted by cash or check made payable to the
Forest Preserve District of Will County.
Get your Old Plank Road Trail patches at:
Sugar Creek Visitor Center
17540 W. Laraway Road (3/4-mile east of Route 52) Joliet, Illinois
open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or call 815-727-
Trails for Illinois
METRA Cantenary Maintenance Car