- Length: 2.5 miles
- Elevation gain / loss: +185ft / – 185ft
- Surface: mix of woodland trail, park sidewalks, cemetery roads, and residential street
- Trip start location: Luthy Botanical Garden – 2520 N Prospect Rd, Peoria, IL
This hike provides a blend of some rarely used trail along with all the highlights of Glen Oak Park. The hike is a longer loop hike made possible by utilizing a few of the roads through the south end of Springdale Cemetery. There is also a very short section of hiking along Prospect Road. Glen Oak Park is anchored by the amphitheater on the south and the Botanical Garden on the north. You will see both of these and everything in between. By hiking clockwise you get to go down the steepest sections of the Springdale Cemetery roads, with a more gradual uphill on the section through Glen Oak park. After exiting the cemetery, this hike follows an older trail with some concrete sections that is lightly used and parallels the Peoria Greenway Trail. This is a good hike at any time of the year. See by the mile route guide below.
Turn by Turn Directions – Clockwise
mile 0.0 START Park at the Luthy Botanical Gardens parking lot. If it’s open, it is well worth touring the the gardens. Admission is free (donations accepted). Start hiking north out of the parking lot exit (the same drive you came in on. Immediately turn left on E Gift Avenue. You will soon be turning right.
mile 0.1 Turn right (north) on Springdale Avenue and follow for two blocks.
mile 0.2 Turn left when Sprindale Avenue ends. Soon you should see Prospect Avenue up ahead.
mile 0.25 Turn right onto the shoulder of Prospect Avenue. It’s a busy road so be on alert for the few minutes you will be on it.
mile 0.4 Turn right (east) into the main entrance of Springdale Cemetery. Note: Springdale closes at 6PM much of the year. Later hours in the summer.
mile 0.45 Turn right at first fork in road.
mile 0.50 You will soon come to another fork in the road. Turn right.
mile 0.65 Continue to make right turns. Before you head down the steepest part of the hill, you will pass the American Legion Hill on your left. Stop a moment to take a closer look.
mile 0.9 When the road forks again turn right.
mile 1.1 You will now exit Springdale Cemetery through a fence opening on your right. There should be a yellow post(s) (car stoppers) if you are in the right place. This is also part of the RIG (Rock Island Greenway Trail) You should see a post marking MILE 3.5 on the RIG. IMMEDIATELY turn right as you exit the cemetery. Following the yellow signs for the Rock Island Greenway Trail. Watch closely for your next turn.
mile 1.2 Look for a service road gate on your right. There will be a short set of concrete steps. Follow those steps. They take you south and parallel to the PGT on a lightly used hiking only trail. Note: in the winter months after a snow, this trail may be difficult to locate. An alternate route is to just follow the PGT a little further to mile 1.5.
mile 1.5 Turn right as you exit the hiking trail onto the PGT. There will be a bridge to your immediate left. Follow the stairsteps up hill.
mile 1.6 Continue straight (west) as you pass by the round historic decorative picnic shelter made of red brick and white wood. Look for the path (concrete) leading up the hill. Take the one that goes to the left, paralleling the service road. It should start just a few feet west of the picnic shelter.
mile 1.7 When you reach the top of the hill, cross the service road. Proceed to the left looking for the path down to the lagoon.
mile 1.75 Take the stairs which lead down to the sidewalk the circles the lagoon.
mile 1.9 Hike around the lagoon, exit at the far west end of the lagoon into the parking lot.
mile 1.95 At the corner of East and Republic streets take a right onto East. This leads you into the large parking lot for the amphitheater.
mile 2.0 Turn right hiking past the large wooden playground structure.
mile 2.1 Turn left and cross the service road after you pass the historic white hexagon shaped concession stand. The Peoria Playhouse will be on your right. Taking the sidewalk that cuts across another playground and head towards the zoo.
mile 2.25 Pass the zoo on your right. Follow the sidewalk outside perimeter of the zoo. Head for the tennis courts
mile 2.4 Take the sidewalk between the tennis courts (north). Take a right turn when you come to the fence around the botanical gardens.
mile 2.5 END. Return to where you parked in the Luthy Botanical Gardens.