Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail
For a biking adventure in Southern Illinois, visit the Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail, and choose welcoming lodging with Illinois Bed & Breakfast Association members. Following the Illinois River on the Great River Road, this unique cycling rail-trail’s endpoints are in Pere Marquette State Park and at the town of Alton, IL on the Mississippi River.
The trail follows the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, meaning you may want to bring your camera along on your ride. Scenery includes expansive water views and steep bluffs with rests in the historic town of Elsah, the active city of Grafton, and Alton, which serves as one of the trail’s endpoints. Along the way, travelers will see the Piasa Harbor and pass through Piasa Park and witness a limestone bluff containing a 48-by-22 foot reproduction of a Native American Piasa Bird petroglyph mural, described as a fierce and warrior-killing dragon.
The trail provides seasonal variations riders won’t want to miss. Spring is marked by flowering trees, vibrant fall colors permeate the scenery in the fall, and Bald Eagle sightings are possible during the winter. Other wildlife sightings may include turtles, heron, and other waterfowl.
The Sam Vadalabene Trail is approximately more than 20 miles long, and though paved, does include short but steep hills and gullies. It connects to the Alton Trail and the Madison County trail for additional biking. Other possible trail activities include hiking, inline skating, fishing, and walking, and the trail is wheelchair accessible.