This Hike Will Take You Through 5 Different Ghost Towns in Illinois
If you're fascinated by days gone by and the evidence those days left behind, you definitely need to plan a hike, a bike, or a skate along the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Illinois soon.
History of the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Illinois
To understand how unique Illinois' Tunnel Hill State Trail is, you need to know its history. According to enjoyillinois.com, Tunnel Hill was created as a railway trail back in the late 1800s, and for several decades it was used to transport goods and coal to the southern part of Illinois until many railroad ownership changes led to its extinction. The trail was eventually handed over to the state of Illinois in 1991, which turned it into the State Trail we know today. Tunnel Trail has some strong African American history attached to it, but for now, let's focus on the 5 ghost towns you can visit along the trail.
Ghost Towns Along the Tunnel Hill State Trail
During the height of the railway operations, 7 communities developed along the trail, but 5 of them died off when the railroad stopped operating in the area. These towns were called; New Castle, Parker City, Forman, Bender, and Rago. At one point some of these communities included post offices, hotels, restaurants, stores, barbershops, and more, but most of the buildings have since been torn down and only remnants were left behind.
When I went on a hunt for haunted stories about these towns along the Tunnel Hill State Trail, I came across this video of what Parker City looks like today...
And this video about one of the tunnels you have to go through along the trail...
The Tunnel Hill State Trail is 45 miles is long, but if you want to take your adventure up a hardcore notch, check out the Tunnel Hill Run which is a 50-mile, flat course perfect for runners.
Read more about the history of the Tunnel Hill State Trail, here, it's truly fascinating!