A sampling of National Recreation Trails in the news or recently designated. The NRT program showcases the diversity of trails across America, from our cities and suburbs to the deserts, waterways, and high mountains.
Every kind of trail activity is represented in the listing of designated NRTs. Besides hiking and bicycling, the system includes water trails, motorized routes, snow tracks, greenways, and equestrian paths.
Search all of Illinois's designated National Recreation Trails in the Online NRT Database
Danada & Herrick Lake Regional Trail — Located in the western suburbs of Chicago, this 5-mile trail promotes the educational, recreational, and health benefits of trails. The trail encourages a variety of outdoor activities amidst prairie, woodland, and marsh habitats within the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (designated 2004).
General Dacey Trail — This 4-mile multipurpose trail at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Shelbyville is a premiere attraction for physical fitness, family gatherings, educational opportunities, and wildlife viewing. The success of the project would not have been achieved without community pride and ownership. The trail has proved to be a catalyst for developing relationships between volunteers, contributors, and partnering organizations (designated 2013).
Great River Trail — The 60-mile trail is part of a larger regional trail network, and includes a variety of attractions and natural features including views of the Mississippi River, Native American mounds, and rookeries of the Great Blue Heron. This trail is a valued resource in the Greater Quad Cities region, which was the site of the 2006 National Trails Symposium (designated 2003).
Hennepin Canal Parkway — Spanning 173 miles, this multi-use trail system takes traverses rolling agricultural land of the northwestern part of the state. Following the nation's first canal constructed of concrete and the model for the Panama Canal, the route provides for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, and canoeing (designated 2004).
Kaskaskia River Confluence Trail provides access to the shoreline at the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers. This is the only public river access site on the banks of the Mississippi River for 100 miles in the State of Illinois. The trail traverses a high quality bottomland forested area and is used for walking, bicycling, jogging, and educational and interpretive programs on river history, navigation and shipping (designated 2010).
Lake Michigan National Water Trail - Chicago to New Buffalo Segment — Running through three States, the 75-mile Chicago to New Buffalo Segment is part of a larger vision for a nationally designated water trail around the entirety of Lake Michigan. This segment takes paddlers on a journey past urban shorelines, natural and remote lakeshore landscapes, industry, and beach communities (designated 2011).
Lower Cache River Trail — This 3-mile paddling trail is the result of a partnership between Illinois DNR, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Nature Conservancy to preserve, restore, and manage a 60,000-acre complex of wetlands. The trail and surrounding area contains true southern swamps, 100 state-threatened or endangered plant and animal species, and 11 state champion trees (designated 2002).
Moraine Hills Trail System — The four components of this trail system in Moraine Hills State Park total 10.2 miles for cycling, mountain biking, hiking, running, and cross-country skiing (designated 2009).
Rend Lake Bike Trail — In addition to providing hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities, this meandering trail extends over 19 miles through some of the most diverse and scenic habitat that Southern Illinois has to offer (designated 2008).
Rock Island State Trail — This 27-mile rail-trail named after the abandoned Rock Island Railroad line, traverses central Illinois farmland through a variety of natural settings. The trail corridor preserves a piece of history amidst prairie grasses, wildflowers and trestle bridges. In addition to its natural and historic features, trail users can enjoy hiking, mountain biking and wildlife viewing (designated 2003).
Springbrook Prairie Trail — Located in a 1,800-acre oasis amidst the western suburbs of Chicago, this 9-mile loop trail system provides for a variety of recreational opportunities while protecting meadows, prairies, wetlands, and endangered bird species. Outdoor activities include hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding. The trail is managed by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and local partners (designated 2004).
Tunnel Hill State Trail — Extending from downtown Harrisburg to Karnak, this 45-mile rail-trail connects numerous communities and provides a link to a larger trail network, including the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and Harrisburg's bike trail. This trail not only offers a variety of recreational opportunities (such as hiking, biking, and fishing), but trail users can also observe the wildlife habitat of the Cache River State Natural Area. Through its array of partners and community connections, this trail is connecting southern Illinois in a truly unique way (designated 2005).