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 TrailThe 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 tourTake a tour of the Old Plank Road Trail (OPRT) without leaving your computer. Click here to go to the photo tour.Park Forest Railfan ParkDozens 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.
Wildlife along the trailA 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.
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.
ABOVE: Early morning egrets and herons at Dewey Helmick preserveBELOW: Pelicans at the Dewey Helmick preserve.