Monday, July 30, 2012

Fort Creve Coeur

I must admit that I have lived in the area since 1980 and had never visited Fort Creve Coeur until today.  I learned about the trail yesterday (Sunday) while hiking Illinois Bluff Trail (Robinson Park - North).  In the midst of the approximately 6.5 miles walked, the Fort Creve Coeur trail was mentioned.  My curiosity was piqued and I decided to check it out.  At the end of Park Street, one will find the monument for the old fort that celebrates the early French settlers and heritage.  Near the monument is the trail that leads to the woods and ultimately to Fort Creve Coeur.

The trail starts with a few steps, then a path and then a lot more steps!  On the way back, I counted the steps.  There are 197 of them.  It wasn't bad going down them, but we won't talk about going back up!  At the bottom of the steps the trail continues to a dry creek bed that serves as the crossing to the trail that then begins to go up hill.

From the trail head, there is no indication as to how many steps there will be.  They just keep going and going! 





The path is well marked.  After crossing the dry creek bed where a remnants indicate a bridge once was, the trail begins to climb the opposite side of the gully.  It is a very nice wooded area .  There are several types of wildflowers and native grasses along the way.  Large power lines cross the trail and allow a view of the Illinois River with Peoria in the distance.



The trail continues climbing until it ultimately comes out onto a well maintained grassy area.  Looking to the left, Fort Creve Coeur comes into view!  The fort was open.  Inside there were four small "lean-to's".  There appeared to be an area for horses and another for bunk beds.  It is too bad that a small amount of graffiti marked each lean-to.  There was no view of the river from the fort although there may have been at one time.


Going back the way I came, I took a side trail right before the dry creek bed.  The trail led to the railroad tracks where a long coal hauling train sat waiting for the signal to go.  The Chicago & Illinois Midland engines were brightly painted and appeared in good shape.  Round trip for the walk was approximately 1.6 miles and actually a pretty mild, but enjoyable hike.  After returning to the car, I decided to take a little drive.



I drove along Wesley Road and found a little park on the opposite side of the train tracks that had benches, grills and picnic tables.  It provided a great area to sit near the Illinois River and contemplate the state of the world.  The park also offered a visit to the past.  It has an old two-swing swing set.  The seats were weathered wood and all the metal parts looked really old.  From the park, you can look to the right and see Peoria in the distance or to the left and see barges, the lock & dam area and the I474 bridge in the distance.

This was a really pleasant way to spend a Monday morning!  I have to wonder what other trails I have not discovered.  Any suggestions?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good observation about Ft. Creve Coeur. Thanks for your thoughts

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Ava said...

I grew up in Creve Coeur, and have hiked that trail many times. In winter, my friends and I sledded along the trail. Thank you for posting this - great memories for me! :)

James Sellers said...
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Anonymous said...

I hiked that trail last year thanks to your post about it. I hear there are other trails in the Creve Coeur Nature Preserve further down. Have you ever hiked those?

James Sellers said...
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