TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The Farmdale Reservoir area in Tazewell County is home to miles of trails that extend over 800 acres of wilderness.

People walk, run, bicycle, or ride horseback on those trails any day they can.

Farmdale was never supposed to be a recreation area. Seventy years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers created Farmdale for flood prevention, which explains the huge earthen dam there.

A few years ago, members of the Peoria Area Mountain Biking Association (PAMBA) got permission to set up trails through the woods. PAMBA President Mike Robertson said the trails are well-kept by the biking community.

“I mean, we love to ride and we know there are a lot of people who love to ride and we have a lot of volunteers who are willing to give up time just to make it so they have a nice place to ride and everybody else does too,” said Robertson.

There are 837 acres of woodland and prairie at Farmdale Reservoir, including 100 acres of tall grass prairie, and animal life is abundant.

Steve Driscoll, a Farmland regular, rides there a lot, but he said there are times when stopping is the right thing to do.

“I mean, there are days I come out here and I’ll spend three hours out here and only ride for two of them because I’m stopping and taking in nature,” Driscoll said.

Farmdale is free and open from dawn to dusk. There are no facilities at the reservoir, not even a drinking fountain, but civilization is just three miles away. Dogs should be leashed, and the trails are closed 24 hours after rain. Whether you walk, ride or run at Farmdale, you won’t be alone, but with miles of trails, you might not see anyone else.

Farmdale Reservoir can be reached at 309-676-4601.

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