The 135-acre Old Plank Road Trail was acquired between 1992 and 2006.
Prior to the District’s acquisition of the land, it was an abandoned railroad. Before the railroad's construction, the corridor had originally been secured to build a wagon and horse road using wood planks, but the road was never built.
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Trail location and access
The Old Plank Road Trail travels 22 miles from Joliet east through New Lenox, Frankfort, Matteson, Park Forest and Chicago Heights.
The trail is jointly owned and managed by members of the Old Plank Road Trail Management Commission, which include the Forest Preserve District, the Village of Frankfort, Rich Township, the Village of Park Forest and the Village of Matteson. The Forest Preserve District owns and manages 11.5 miles of the 14.1 miles of trail in Will County.
The trail may be accessed from the following locations managed by the Forest Preserve District:
- Washington Street Access, Joliet (View on a Google Map)
- Park Road Access, Joliet (View on a Google Map)
- Hickory Creek Preserve – Hickory Creek Barrens (Schoolhouse Road, New Lenox, via street routes)
- Hickory Creek Preserve – Hickory Creek Junction (Route 30, Mokena, via a 0.65-mile trail connection)
Trail experience and activities
The Old Plank Road Trail is a flat, paved linear trail and travels 22 miles through prairie. It is ideal for the following activities:
- In-line skating
- Cross-country skiing
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Grand Illinois Trail: The Old Plank Road Trail is part of the Grand Illinois Trail, which travels the northern quarter of Illinois.
American Discovery Trail: The Old Plank Road Trail is part of the American Discovery Trail, which travels coast to coast.
Wauponsee Glacial Trail: Street routes in Joliet connect the west end of the Old Plank Road Trail to the 22.42-mile, linear crushed limestone/paved Wauponsee Glacial Trail.
I&M Canal State Trail: Street routes in Joliet connect the west end of the Old Plank Road Trail to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' 61.5-mile, linear crushed limestone I&M Canal State Trail.
Hickory Creek Bikeway: A street route in New Lenox and a trail connection in Mokena connect the Old Plank Road Trail to the 3.75-mile, paved western segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway. Street routes in Mokena connect the Old Plank Road Trail to the 2.9-mile, paved eastern segment of the Hickory Creek Bikeway.
Route 30 Bikeway: A street route in New Lenox and trail connections in Mokena connect the Old Plank Road Trail to the 7.56-mile, linear paved Route 30 Bikeway.
Thorn Creek Trail: The eastern end of the Old Plank Road Trail at Campbell Avenue in Chicago Heights connects directly to the Forest Preserve District of Cook County's Thorn Creek Trail, which is a continuous 16-mile paved path.