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At one time, the rumble of freight cars reverberated through the narrow tunnel. Wooden trestles, with their system of slanted supports and horizontal cross pieces, spanned numerous bluffs and creeks. Passengers in Pullman cars clocked the miles with these and other landmarks as they traveled one of southern Illinois’ most scenic routes.
Today, the railroad is gone. The route, known as Tunnel Hill State Trail, remains. Tunnel Hill State Trail stretches for 45 miles from Harrisburg to Karnak. Egyptian Hills Resort is minutes away from the Tunnel Hill station, the most scenic section of the entire trail. Your family will bike through the 543 foot tunnel and over the 450 foot Breeden trestle which is 90 feet in the air.
As you continue on the trail one landform melds into another, the countryside offers ever-changing vistas. Woodland wildflowers dot the forest floor each spring, while prairie flowers and grasses lend their beauty to the summer landscape. Contrasting with the profuse greenery of summer, the lack of foliage on the oak, hickory, tulip poplar, cottonwood and sweet gum trees brings the river valleys and rocky bluffs into sharp focus from late fall to early spring. The trail surface is hard packed crushed limestone and is easily ridden on either a road or mountain bike. Parking is available at several locations. There are limited services elsewhere along the trail.
Click here to learn more about Tunnel Hill State Trail.
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