You’ll enjoy rolling hills, cool streams, woods, cornfields, marshes, and a whole lot of beauty on a bike ride along the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Southern Illinois. This trek would make a great little weekend trip, capped off with a night in a local B&B, such as Country Schemes in Vienna, Illinois.
The Tunnel Hill State Trail spans 45 miles and seven towns, stretching from downtown Harrisburg to Karnack. This one-time path of a freight train is now a fun ride that includes a 543-foot long tunnel and 23 picturesque train trestles, ranging in length from 34 feet to 430 feet.
For more than 100 years, a network of railroad companies ran trains through this section of land, the last of which was the Norfolk Southern Railroad. In 1991, the company turned the railroad right-of-way over to the state of Illinois, where the Department of Natural Resources worked to develop a multi-use trail, complete with access for parking, drinking water, and privy toilets along the way.
Bikers will find access points in many of the small towns along the route, including Belknap, Vienna, New Burnside, Tunnel Hill, Stonefort, and Carrier Mills. One of the delights of the ride is the ever-changing terrain. From flat farmland in Harrisburg, the path travels southwest through the beautiful Shawnee National Forest before entering a lush wetland. This time of year you’ll find wildflowers and prairie grasses en route. Come autumn, it’s a colorful array of leaves that dot the path.
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Highway 146, Vienna, IL
It’s just a short side trip from bike trail in Vienna to the peaceful setting of Country Schemes B&B. Located on a centennial farm, the inn offers three guest rooms and a great deck that perfect relaxing on after a long ride.
Country Schemes B&B
3220 Old Metropolis Road, Vienna, IL
Country Schemes B&B is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association…a unique lodging experience!