This 0.5-mile trail parallels the swift-flowing, translucent green waters of the Vermilion River in the town of Streator, which is home to Clyde Tombaugh, the only U.S. citizen to be credited with discovering a (former) planet (Pluto) and Clarence Mulford, author of the famous Hopalong Cassidy western series, after which the trail takes its name. Visitors can follow this trail through an urban forest of mulberry, hackberry, oak, and maple. The trail ends at a public canoe launch.
The park itself may not be a birding hotspot, though robins, bluejays, chickadees, and the occasional Belted Kingfisher may be seen in this streamside urban forest in the town of Streator, Illinois, (also check out the cemeterys trees on the western border). Blue Jays, chickadees, and woodpeckers flit in and out of the riparian trees as butterflies and dragonflies frolic along the trail’s sunnier stretches. This park has a canoe launch that is the best put-in for folks interested in birding by canoe in the swift-flowing, translucent green waters of the Vermilion River which hosts a wide array of riparian birds. Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks, Indigo Buntings, and Pileated Woodpeckers all call this riverbank home. An easy float trip will carry you through the north end of Streator, through wetlands, farm fields, forested bluffs and eventually to Sandy Ford Natural Area, a good place to park a car and pull out your canoe.