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 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.
Trail rules Trail rules photo by Jim Nugent - October 27, 2014 photo by Jim Nugent

OPRT Resurfacing

The oldest portion of the Old Plank Road Trail is scheduled to be repaved this year. The section that will be rehabbed is 25 years old, and it stretches 7 miles west from Harlem Avenue to Schoolhouse Road. Much of the existing pavement will be overlaid with new asphalt. The trail also will receive ADA upgrades including slope and tactile and visual improvements at cross streets. The Will County Forest Preserve District Board approved contracts at its July 14, 2022 meeting. A 2.5-mile section of the OPRT from 108th Avenue to Pfeiffer Road is owned by the Village of Frankfort and the municipality will pay for that portion. The project is scheduled to begin in early September and to be completed before November. But weather and other factors could delay the work. During paving, trail closures will be necessary. Information about where the work is occurring will be posted on the Forest Preserve District’s website. Path users are asked to use caution and to follow posted signage notices. Trail users can take an alternate route using the sidepath on the north side of U.S. Route 30. This alternate route is about a half mile north of the OPRT and runs along route 30 from Hunter Woods Drive to Schoolhouse Road. The sidepath is a standard 10-foot wide trail except for a short narrow sidewalk section at the U.S. route 45 crossing in Frankfort.
Old Plank Road Trail A 22-mile recreation and nature trail in northeastern Illinois 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.
ABOVE: Early morning egrets and herons at Dewey Helmick preserve BELOW: Pelicans at the Dewey Helmick preserve.
Bald eagle - click to zoom