Take a virtual tour of trail sights
Click on the map and images above to visit the OPRT virtual tour with photographs from selected points
along the Old Plank Road Trail.
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.
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
Get the Adobe Acrobat PDF map of Thorn Creek Trail from the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
Take a tour of the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) without leaving your computer. Click here to go to the photo
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.
The snow is gone
April 2021. The trail is snow free. Most folks are still practicing social distancing and many
continue to mask. Restaurants are starting to open, as are some park facilities and bathrooms.
Slow down, share the trail, say safe, and enjoy.
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.
ABOVE: Early morning egrets and herons at Dewey Helmick preserve
BELOW: Pelicans at the Dewey Helmick preserve.
Bald eagle - click to zoom