County Bicycle Maps
(Legend and Bicycle Level of Service Guide)
to East Central Illinois
District 5 covers a region from Bloomington and Champaign
southeast to Paris. Counties covered are Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar,
McLean, Piatt, and Vermilion as well as portions of adjacent counties. While
you are cycling in this region, we invite you to stop and take in many of the
scenic and historic wonders of this region.
This region is prime farmland. Long-distance
bicyclists will love the very flat terrain of east central Illinois. The
terrain becomes more rolling in the southern third of the region, primarily due
to the number of larger streams and rivers that cut through it. Only a few
challenging hills exist.
Rivers, and Streams
This area is dominated by several state parks and recreational
areas. These areas are popular boating, fishing, and swimming destinations for
people from all of central Illinois. There is plenty of camping, and numerous
boat access points.
Although many rivers and streams wind through the area, there are
few public access points for fishing or boating. A notable exception is the
Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. A section of this river has been designated
as a Wild and Scenic River, the only one in Illinois.
One of the most heavily farmed regions of the state, bicyclists
are most likely to encounter corn and soybeans. Many birds and animals have
adapted to farmed areas, while along streams and lakes and in state parks and
conservation areas, a number of native species flourish. In August and
September, the rows of corn are seven feet high, forming living walls on each
side of the road.
Typical wooded areas fall under two broad categories: oak-hickory
uplands and elm-ash-soft maple bottomlands. Other species found are beech—more
prevalent in the eastern half of the region—and widely scattered groves of
sugar maples, as well as walnut, sycamore, willow, cottonwood, horse chestnut,
and gum. Pine trees exist almost exclusively in plantations and are not native
to the area. A few native stands of tall-grass prairie are still in
existence—primarily on protected lands.
A number of animal species feel at home in the corn and soybean
fields, most prominent being the red-winged blackbird roosting on fences and
reflectorized poles next to the fields. Robins, blue jays, and a number of
other birds also are common in farmed areas.
Deer are ubiquitous, as well as the squirrel. In wooded areas raccoons
and rabbits are more common. Less common, but still frequently spotted are a
variety of non-poisonous snakes such as the garter and the prairie king.
Poisonous species are quite rare. Frogs of all types haunt wetlands and lakes
and can be heard most summer nights. Occasionally, small lizards may be