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Featured National Recreation Trail

Rend Lake National Recreation Trail, Illinois

In addition to providing hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities, this meandering trail extends over 19 miles of Southern Illinois lakeside terain.

From U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

photo of trail in park

Part of the The Rend Lake Bike Trail, a National Recreation Trail

The Rend Lake Bike Trail
in southern Illinois is a joint project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Rend Lake Conservancy District and the Rend Lake College. It was designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2008.

The Rend Lake Bike Trail offers over 19 miles of paved trail that meanders through some of the most diverse and scenic habitat that Southern Illinois has to offer. The trail passes though bottomland hardwoods, restored prairie grasslands, wetlands and riparian ecosystems. Its most compelling scenic feature is Rend Lake, second-largest man-made lake in Illinois, with 19,000 acres and 162 miles of shoreline. The trail skirts the southern and eastern sides of the lake, and will be 33 miles in length when remaining segments are completed. Plans also include the trail’s extension to neighboring communities.

Photo of trail bridge from the air

Aerial view of Big Muddy Bridge on the trails at Rend Lake Park


The trail was built as a result of the "Southern Illinois Regional Bicycle Trails Plan." The planning and management team includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Rend Lake Conservancy District, and Rend Lake College.

The trail connects many of the amenities of the Rend Lake recreation complex, including the Rend Lake Resort, Rend Lake Golf Course, campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, Rend Lake Visitor Center, Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center, and Rend Lake College. Another distinctive attribute of the Rend Lake Bike Trail is its 12 miles of concrete surface, which allows people with disabilities excellent access to the scenic areas surrounding the lake.

For more information:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rend Lake Project Office
12220 Rend City Road, Benton, IL 62812
(618) 724-2493

The US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center features many educational and interactive exhibits. A full slate of summer presentations and programs are also provided to the public. Open 7 days/week Memorial Day thru Labor Day, 10-5:00. For more information call (618) 439-7430.

Franklin County Tourism Bureau
Located in the Historic Jail Museum
209 West Main (West of the Benton Square on Route 14)
Benton, IL 62812
800 661.9998

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035 nrt@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

Photo of boardwalk in swamp
Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest (photo: Mark Musselman)

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