Distance: 5.0 Miles (IDOT trail head to Rochester Rd in Rochester)
This Trail Connects to the Wabash Trail at the Wabash Trail head located at the intersection of Wabash Ave and Park Ave. It heads south under Interstate 72 near the MacArthur extension. It crosses the lake on a refurbished railroad bridge and continues into Chatham, ending at Walnut Street. The trail is very scenic even with its close proximity to the active railroad line. Most of the trail passes through areas that are open farmland or scattered housing.
The Lost Bridge Trail, jointly managed by the Springfield Park District and the village of Rochester, is one of the area's earliest and most popular multiuse trails-even for locals taking a weekday break on their lunch hour. Well-maintained, the trail's starting point is located behind the Illinois Department of Transportation building in Springfield. This portion of the trail is not actually on a former rail corridor but wraps partway around a beautifully landscaped and tree-lined lake near the complex.
At the lake's northern end, the trail joins the former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad corridor, an obvious change, as the trail becomes straight and flat, traveling through a dense tree canopy. Almost immediately, you reach a clearing and pass under Interstate 55 then plunge back into the forest. The heavy vegetation along the route makes it easy to forget how closely the trail parallels busy State Route 29.
After the bridge, look closely for a paved trail connector on the south side that gives you the option of making a quick loop through Rochester Community Park. For the final 2 miles after South Fork Bridge to the trail's end in Rochester, you will pass through a short stand of trees before the landscape opens into some beautifully manicured grass fields behind one of Rochester's school facilities.
Trail end points:
IL Dept of Transportation, South Dirksen Parkway (Springfield) and Walnut St. at SR 29 (Rochester)
Community Park in Rochester
Parking and Trail Access:
To access the Springfield trailhead on Rielly Drive, take Interstate 55 to Route 29 (S. Grand Avenue east) and head west for a half mile. Turn left on S. Dirksen Parkway and go about 1 mile. Turn left on Rielly Drive and look for the trailhead at the far end of the parking lot.
To reach the Rochester trailhead, take Interstate 55 to Route 29 (S. Grand Avenue east) and head east for 4 miles. Turn right on Walnut Street and look for the trailhead directly on the right.
Parking is also available along Wild Rose Lane on the trail spur that travels through Rochester Community Park on the eastern end of the trail.