The CA&E line to Elgin began in Wheaton by crossing over the Chicago and North Western (now Union Pacific) on a bridge. The bridge remains as part of the trail.
A typical scene on the northwest side of Wheaton, on the CA&E Elgin route.
Immediately northwest of Wheaton, the CA&E passed through Lincoln Marsh, which remains in its natural undeveloped state. This marsh is still valuable to Wheaton's residents in that it accumulates rain water, water which would otherwise flood the residents' homes.
Northwest of Lincoln Marsh is an area of new suburban sprawl, on the north side of Winfield. But northwest of Winfield is the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve, including a crossing over the Du Page River, shown here.
One of the more interesting remnants of the CA&E is the Prince Crossing station, west of Prince Crossing Road, in what now is part of West Chicago. The station is not presently used for anything. Unfortunately the path no longer passes directly past the station, due to a dangerous crossing over Prince Crossing Road. The path now heads north along the east side of Prince Crossing Road to the Great Western Trail, where Prince Crossing Road may be crossed more safely.
"Now which way do we go?", asks Dorothy as she reaches a junction in the Yellow Brick Road, immediately before she meets the Scarecrow. Actually, the Illinois Prairie Path joins the Great Western Trail, which is the abandoned right of way of the Chicago Great Western Railroad. This is the same line which had paralleled the CA&E between Maywood and Elmhurst. View is looking east along the CGW right of way. The CGW had crossed over the CA&E on a bridge, now the trail drops down from the embankment to form the junction. The Great Western Trail to the east is actually now used as part of the Illinois Prairie Path, with the portion to the right abandoned. This is to enable the path to avoid a dangerous crossing over Prince Crossing Road.
Southeast of the village of Wayne, the CA&E had crossed over the Elgin Joliet and Eastern Railroad on a bridge. View is looking southeast.
This path segment can be easily reached from the Wheaton Metra station. But with a lack of public transportation outside Wheaton, this must be part of a continuous walk between Wheaton and Elgin, a total distance of 17 miles.