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 terrain.

by American Trails Staff

June 01, 2008

Featured
National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2008


• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

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.

The 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.

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.