I will not walk 5000 miles
January 6, 2008 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Backpacking question about the I & M canal corridor near Joliet...can I take the Amtrak in?

I would like to backpack along the I & M trail and camp in the backcountry area versus Gebhard State Park or Channahon. I'm trying to find out how far the "Camp D" sites are from the train station in Joliet and how much of the city I would have to backpack through to reach them.

I have all the current links to Illinois Department of Resources, Gorp, Wikipedia, etc. Unfortunately none of them give information about where the sites are along the trail specifically.

Thanks in advance!
posted by aetg to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Response by poster: On update, I know that I could access the Channahon Trail access point 12 miles away, but I'm looking for something closer for the first night.
posted by aetg at 5:48 PM on January 6, 2008

Wow, "backcountry" and "Joliet" are two words I never thought I'd see in the same sentence!

I live near Joliet, and I would be happy to find out more info for you.

What I can tell you right now (running to class - be back around 2pm) is that the Amtrak station is right in the middle of downtown Joliet. Channahon, as you've noted, is 12-15 miles away. Between station and trail is: somewhat skeevy downtown area that I would run, not hike, through at night; rivers, major railroad lines and expressways necessitating alternate walking routes; large industrial complexes probably frowning on walkers through their property; some nice bike trails; nice urban neighborhoods; suburban sprawl and farmland.

So - pretty much a bit of everything.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:14 AM on January 7, 2008

Sorry - in case I wasn't clear - I can go out and physically measure distances for you, and help you map out a route - just will have to do it later!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:17 AM on January 7, 2008

i know that trail well. i question the presence of 'backcountry' anywhere east of channahon. for several miles after leaving joliet proper, the trail is bordered by industrial property on one side, and a series of forest preserve lands and private residential land on the other side. you could find a campsite in there somewhere, but not sure if it's legal to camp there. i don't know where 'camp d' is. any 'backcountry' camping in that area is going to be difficult due to the thick undergrowth and the presence of wetlands.

after the highway (i-55), the situation improves marginally, but for the most part the trail cuts through farmland. a bit west of channahon, the situation improves greatly.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 12:28 PM on January 7, 2008

Response by poster: SuperSquirrel: Thanks for the help. I think I'll stick to driving to Gebhard State Park and perhaps taking the trail for day trips.

Lester's Sock puppet: I knew that the IDR website had to be lying! There are places you can legally camp, but the IDR website doesn't show the location. I imagine that they aren't particularly fabulous locations.
posted by aetg at 5:41 PM on January 7, 2008

i haven't been west of gebhard woods. east of gebhard, the trail follows the canal, but mostly is kind of featureless--a lot of thick woods on the south side, and the canal on the north. never gone off the trail to see how deep the woods are. there are some dedicated camp sites along the trail.

the stretch west of channahon, to a bit west of the dresden dam is really nice, especially at the point. there is some camping there, too, but has more of a day hiker feel to it. if you haevn't hiked this trail at all, i'd strongly recommend going west from channahon.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 8:39 AM on January 8, 2008

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