and solitude, away from the hustle and bustle of city traffic, await visitors
at Rock Island Trail State Park. Stretching for 26 miles from Alta, in
Peoria County, to Toulon, in Stark County, the park offers many natural
and architectural attractions in a tree-canopied corridor that is only
50 to 100 feet wide.
grasses and wildflowers co-exist as remnants of early rail travel along
the trail. Just north of Alta, an arched culvert provides a lovely backdrop
for the natural beauty of the area. At the Peoria and Stark County line,
a tall grass prairie remnant provides a step back into time and allows
visitors to see the Illinois that the early settlers experienced. Just
a few miles from the Toulon access area, a trestle bridge spans the
Spoon River between Wyoming and Toulon. A few miles further south, the
Wyoming Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Depot stands as a mute testimony
to the hundreds of passengers who traveled along the railway just 100
Peoria and Rock Island Railroad Company was granted a charter to construct
a railroad between Peoria and Rock Island on March 7, 1867. Construction
began two years later, and the first regularly scheduled passenger train
passed over the Rock Island Line on July 8, 1871.
more than 40 years, passenger and freight trains rumbled through the
small towns of Alta, Dunlap, Princeville, Stark, Wyoming and Toulon.
By 1915, rail traffic through these communities began to decline,
and ceased completely by the late 1950s.
Forest Park Foundation acquired the abandoned railway corridor in June1965 and deeded the property to the Department of Conservation four
years later. Officially dedicated in 1989, the Rock Island Trail is
the first railway conversion completed by the department.
Island Trail is in the Grand Prairie Division, a vast plain formerly
covered with tall prairie grasses. As the trail has reverted to nature,
much of the prairie has returned.
of Princeville lies a dedicated Class B Illinois Nature Preserve with abundant
native grasses and flowering perennials. Fourteen acres have been restored
to native prairie at the Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area. Hardwood trees
and wildflowers can be found along the streams and rivers which cross
access points to Rock Island Trail are at Alta, Wyoming and Toulon.
Hikers, bikers and skiers will enjoy more than 26 miles of uninterrupted
nature. Parking, water and pit toilets are located at access areas.
Parking-only facilities are located at Dunlap (on Parks School Road)
and Peoria/Stark County line (North Cedar Bluff Road, 00N). Where the
trail intersects the small towns along its route of city streets and
sidewalks, directional signs are utilized.
park office is in the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Depot located
in Wyoming. The depot serves as a visitor center/railroad museum and
is a mute testimony to the hundreds of passengers who traveled along
the railway just 100 years ago. Since the depot is open as staffing
is available, phone (309) 695-2228 if planning a visit.
non-motorized traffic is allowed on the trail, and equestrian use is
A Class D (primitive) camping area is located between Alta and Dunlap
in the Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area and accessible only by trail.
Facilities include pit toilets, fire pads, picnic tables, a picnic shelter
and water. There is a self-pay camping station located off Fox Road
at the overnight parking lot.
Rock Island Trail State Park stretches from Alta to Toulon, encountering
Dunlap, Princeville and Wyoming along the way. The park office located
in Wyoming can be reached from I-80 and I-74.
traveling I-80, approximately 12 miles west of Princeton, take Rt 40
south. Continue south to Rt. 17. Turn right (west) on Rt. 17. Drive
approximately 7 miles to Wyoming. At the 4-way stop in Wyoming, turn
left (east). Drive 3 blocks, and you will see the water tower on your
right. The park office is located ½ block past (east of) the
tower in the Railroad Depot. Park office is located at mile #20 on the
traveling I-74, at the northwest corner of Peoria, take Rte 6 north
to Chillicothe exit (the outer loop 474 turns into Rte 6 north at the
junction of I-74). Drive to 3rd exit-"Allen Road" exit. Turn
left (north) onto Allen Rd. After approximately 1 mile, the road will
curve to the left, follow the left curve. You will be driving through
Alta at this curve. Drive 7 tenths of a mile past the curve to Rock
Island Trail parking lot on the right (north) side of Alta Rd. This
is "Mile 0" of the trail.