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Terri's Tuesday Trails: Heritage Park & Kaufman Lake

October 29, 2019

I realized this morning that it is two days before Halloween so I should have probably done today's run in costume. Alas, unless I borrowed my daughter's Stitch onesie, I didn't really have anything to wear. So instead, I bundled up because it was a balmy 38 degrees and misty when I took off this morning for Heritage Park and Kaufman Lake. Thanks to Facebook follower, Rob, who recommended this trail and for the Champaign Park District for alerting me that the new addition to the trail was now open!

Heritage Park is just North of Dodds Park, surrounding Parkland College. There is an extension to the trail that goes through Dodds, connecting you to the Olympic Tribute and Laborer's Memorial as you head in through the East entrance to Parkland. While I didn't run that portion this morning, it's an excellent trail on what is the start of the Greenbelt Bikeway. I chose to start in Heritage Park to check out the recent renovations which drained the lake to restore the shoreline and add a trail that connects around the lake. 

Here's my views from this morning's misty run:

The view of the lake looking North. Plenty of color to check out around the area, despite the gray skies. 
The new trail, just opened last week, extends around the West side of the lake, making a nice loop for anyone out enjoying the area.  You can see a lot of the work being done to restore the shoreline, with much of the lake filling back in this coming spring. 
After heading around the loop, I continued on the Greenbelt Bikeway, heading south to Kaufman Lake. Heading under I-72, you also come to several bridges including this one under the train tracks. This part of the trail is a little tricky as it isn't paved. You'll find a path created that takes you along the defunct train tracks that you'll follow briefly before getting on the Kaufman Lake trail. The first view you'll see from the North end of the lake. Beautiful foliage surrounds the lake currently, but it's scenic any time of the year. 
The dock surrounding the Kaufman Lake Boathouse is a popular stop for fishing or for just catching a view of the lake while picnicking. You can rent out the area, enjoy hayrack rides on the weekend, or head out on your canoe, kayak or paddle board. The lake is stocked with channel catfish, large mouth bass, redear sunfish, and bluegill sunfish. The art is a nice touch at the North entrance to the park. The view from the North side, looking back at the dock.
Even when not running, I pass by this area often and the canoe in the lake is often decorated for the season.  The trail around the lake is wide and perfect for walking, biking, strollers, and of course, walking your dog. The colors along the path were delightful to take in on the dreary day.   Despite several stops for pictures, it was a decent run for me this morning. I blame my fitness coach, who's been helping me with speed workouts on the track so that I can some day get back to a sub-10 minute mile. 

 

It's been fantastic exploring the trails as fall has peaked. I may have another week or two to enjoy the color before we can say goodbye the leaves and start exploring some trails as winter makes it's way here. Have a recommendation for a run? Comment on our Facebook page!

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