Check out the trail map

The Old Plank Road Trail is a 22-mile long paved rail-trail that connects the Illinois towns of Joliet, New Lenox, Frankfort, Matteson, Richton Park, Park Forest, and Chicago Heights. Click here to go to the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) map page. New I-80 bridge for OPRT MAY 2017 --The state of Illinois is installing a new bridge over Interstate 80 for the OPRT. The trail crosses I- 80 near OPRT milepost 17. Thorn Creek Trail The east end of the Old Plank Road Trail now connects with the Thorn Creek Trail system in Chicago Heights. The new trail section connects with trails in the Cook County Forest Preserve District Sauk Trail Woods preserve. Another section runs north and connects with the Brownell Woods sections of the Thorn Creek Trail. Get the Adobe Acrobat PDF map of Thorn Creek Trail from the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Trail tour Take a tour of the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) without leaving your computer. Click here to go to the photo tour. Park Forest Railfan Park 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.
Trails for Illinois Trail rules Trail rules photo by Jim Nugent - October 27, 2014
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 815-727-8700.
Old Plank Road Trail A 22-mile recreation and nature trail in northeastern Illinois New Eastern Connection to Thorn Creek
Wildlife along the trail A bald eagle was spotted in the Dewey Helmick nature preserve between Central Avenue and Richland Avenue. It is also home to egrets and herons. There are beavers in Matteson east of Cicero Avenue.
Compass plant
Early morning egrets and herons at the Dewey Helmick preserve
Bald eagle - click to zoom
Coreopsis
Wild bergamot
Grey headed cone flower
Narrow leaf sunflower
Lobelia
Flowering spurge
Plants along the trail in July - click to enlarge
Restoration crew