2020 52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike #19 Blog on May 14

Lincoln Trail State Park in Marshall Illinois

General Info

Lincoln Trail State Park is an Illinois State Park located at 16985 East 1350th Road, Marshall, IL, 62441.

Lincoln Trail State Park on the east-central side of Illinois is a little-known natural area that preserves wildlife and history. It is known for its extensive trails and scenic views. The area is named for Abraham Lincoln as the trail within the park marks the path his family took to get to the Prairie State from Indiana in 1831. 

In total, this historic park is 1,023 acres. Part of it was first acquired in 1936 but the park and lake were not dedicated until 1958. Speaking of the lake, there is a marvelous 146-acre body of water at the southwest corner of the park that is probably the most popular section of the place. This man-made lake has numerous fingers and is bordered by thick woodland for amazing views you'll want to photograph in every season.

The Park has two hiking trails. The Beech Tree Trail is just a 0.5 mile long, extending from the boat dock parking lot and concession stand, past the large picnic shelter, to Lakeside Campground. The trail includes a series of stairways and foot bridges, which provide an excellent view of the beech maple forest contained within the nature preserve. For the adventurous, Sand Ford Nature Trail is an opportunity to experience the park's habitat changes while enjoying a 2-mile hike through an oak-hickory forest. 

Click here for more information.

My visit

I have been waiting patiently for the Illinois State Parks to open. Finally, on May 1st, the Parks were partially opened. This was Tracy and my second trip to Lincoln Trail State Park. Our first visit was back in October of 2016 (when I was just starting my photography adventure). If you are interested in seeing our photos from our first visit, click here.

This park has two trails. The first trail we ventured down was the Beech Woods Trail. This trail is only 0.5 miles long and consist of mainly wooden stairs and bridges. The stairways are very long (as you can see from the photos below)! The Beech Woods Trail takes you into the American Beech Woods Nature Preserve. This trail is pretty, but it leads to the Campground, and then you have to turn around. We did come upon a turtle that let us get a close-up pic and a video on this trail. During our first visit, Tracy got a stunning pic of a squirrel that he fondly named "Nuts". Unfortunately, I can't find this pic to show you!

The second trail is called Sand Ford Nature Trail. I could not find either one of these trails on my All-Trails app. I thought this was odd, but after attempting to hike this trail, I can see why it's not listed on the app! This trail starts out gravel, but as soon as you head downhill, the trail becomes a washed-out mudhole. Once you get to the bottom of the hill, the trail appears to have become a stream. The map provided by the park shows the trail being two loops, but we were only able to hike to bigger loop because of the disrepair of the trail. 

If the trail being in disrepair isn't bad enough, it appeared that the forest had also been burned at some point. There were multiple trees that had been cut down and left to be partially burned everywhere along the trail. I'm sure that this was due to a disease that was spreading among the trees, and the burn was probably an attempt to stop the spread. The result makes for some pretty ugly scenery for the hike. This is definitely not a trail I would recommend, and I won't be hiking it again! I would like to come back with my kayak and row around the lake when the weather improves! Scroll down to see all of our pics and videos from this visit!

A Stream within the American Beech Woods Nature Preserve

Turtle Friend