IPP – Elgin Branch

Elgin branch

A. BETWEEN MILE 0 and 1 – LINCOLN MARSH NATURAL AREA / PRAIRIES

Within its 146 acres, prairies, woodlands, wetlands and savannas surround open water marsh areas. Location: Lincoln Marsh is located south of Jewell Road at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Pierce Avenue. Parking: From Jewell Road turn south on Electric Avenue where the Illinois Prairie Path crosses Jewell Road. Proceed on Electric Avenue to Pierce Avenue and turn right. The entrance to the parking lot is at the end of the street on the left.

B. MILE 3 – TIMBER RIDGE FOREST PRESERVE / PRAIRIES / KLINE CREEK BRIDGE / MAY WATTS’ FAVORITE WALKS / RAILROAD

What were once agricultural fields are now oak woodlands (a cathedral of trees) and savannas, restored and natural prairies, recreated wetlands, and lakes. Location: Timber Ridge Forest Preserve is located northwest of Geneva Road and County Farm Road. Parking: The best parking is located at the northwest corner of County Farm Road and Geneva Road.

SOURCE: Excerpt from Helen Turner’s – A Guide to the Illinois Prairie Path – Prince Crossing Station Road / old ignition station

o “Many of the plants found in this guide can be found on a walk starting where the Path crosses Prince Road and going southeast.

o During the first two miles of your walk (to Geneva Road), the Path skirts a swampy area, crosses the West DuPage River, cuts through an upland woods, tunnels under fence row trees, and crosses a bottomland at Kline Creek.

o During the next mile to Jewel Road, it goes past some excellent prairie remnants.

o Another mile to Lincoln Street, in Wheaton, will take you through an extensive wetland, the Lincoln Marsh, where many birds can be seen.”

C. MILE 5 – JUNCTION OF THE ILLINOIS PRAIRIE PATH AND GREAT WESTERN TRAIL / PRAIRIE

Location: This small but well-tended prairie is located at the intersection of the Great Western Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path. Parking: Parking is available along Prince Crossing Road, at the junction of the two trails.

D. BETWEEN MILES 9 and 11- PRATT’S WAYNE WOODS FOREST PRESERVE / PRAIRIES / MAY WATTS’ FAVORITE WALKS

NOTE: Because of the beauty and ecological diversity of this area, May Watts began her public walks in 1963 in this beautiful natural area. The Illinois Prairie Path passes through the forest preserve. Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve has an abundance of uncommon ecosystems. It also has paleontological significance because in 2005, the remains of a 12,000-year old mastodon were found. A 257-acre natural area, Brewster Creek Marsh Nature Preserve, was recently acquired by the DuPage Forest Preserve. Location: The entrance to the forest preserve is off Powis Road, 0.7 mile north of Army Trail Road and 0.9 mile south of Stearns Road. Parking: Parking is available along both sides of Army Trail Road in Wayne.

SOURCE: Excerpts from Helen Turner’s Notes on the first three years…

May’s First Walk – October 19, 1963 (News article)

“There were several events that I recall that took place before there was a committee. One was a field trip at Wayne – starting at the old depot (Wayne Depot on Army Trail Road), walking along on the northeast side of the right-of-way to the railroad, then climbing up onto what is now the Path, and returning to the depot. I think about 50 people came.”

SOURCE: Excerpt from Helen Turner’s – A Guide to the Illinois Prairie Path

Youth groups planning to camp out may hike along the Elgin Branch of the Path to Pratt’s Wayne Woods Forest Preserve:

For a ten-mile hike (one way to Pratt’s Wayne Woods) start at Jewel Rd.

For a five-miler, start at Lakewood (North Ave.)

For a two-mile walk, start at Army Trail Road in Wayne.

E. MILE 13 – VALLEY MODEL RAILROAD ASSOCIATION HEADQUARTERS (Former Clintonville CA&E Railroad Station).

Location: This organization is located along the Illinois Prairie Path. It is focused on the railroad history and operations of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin (CA&E) Railroad that travelled the land that is now the Illinois Prairie Path. Parking: The best parking is located at Kenyan Road just west of Rt. 25 in South Elgin

“Our mission is to engage young people in the rich history of railroading by showing them how our layout uses up-to-the-minute computer-based technology. It’s about making the hobby accessible – something they can touch and experience on a personal level.”

F. MILE 14 – FOX RIVER STEARNS ROAD BRIDGE

Location: At Highway 25 and Stearns Road, there is a beautiful passing for the Illinois Prairie Path under the new Stearns Road Bridge. Parking: A small parking lot is available off Stearns Road at the James Pate Phillips State Park making it easy to walk or bike to the underpass.

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