Water Trail

Discover the Beauty

and enjoy nature when you explore the Sangamon River, made famous by Abraham Lincoln when he stopped and made New Salem his home.

Part of the Lincoln Legacy

the Lincoln Heritage Water Trail 

The Water Trail follows the Sangamon River as it flows past the Lincoln Homestead State Park, just west of Decatur, Illinois to Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site, just 1.5 miles south of Petersburg, Illinois - the town that Lincoln surveyed.  In 1965 then Governor Otto Kerner signed legislation creating the trail and we will soon celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark event.

     The Water Trail provides the public with an unique opportunity to not simply see the places Lincoln lived, but to experience, through doing, some of the places, vistas and adventures that are now much as they were 150 years ago, when Lincoln made the trek.  From remnants of bison trails, river crossings, old mill sites and abandoned buildings long forgotten, you can relive history.

     Today, Lincoln's Sangamon River is essentially undeveloped and is a fantastic natural resource for canoeists, kayakers and photographers.  Watch the eagles soar, observe wildlife in their native habitat and enjoy the peaceful float that transports you through time.  History awaits your discovery!

In The News

October 5, 2013 Abe's River Race

Visit the Photos Page to see a video slideshow of the race.

Menard County Tourism

In addition to the Sangamon River and nearby Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Park, there are many sites to visit. And don't forget Lincoln's New Salem and other Lincoln sites.  Click on the link above to learn more from the Menard County Tourism Council.

More About the River

Lincoln traveled the Sangamon by flatboat until landing at New Salem where history and his legacy began.

Next Abe's River Race - Saturday August 30, 2014

The first race was a success and this second annual event will be even bigger, and better.  There are more categories for racers and a longer course for the serious contenders.  Details are provided on the "Race Page."  NOTE:  The 2014 race was originally planned for June 28 but postponed due to high water at the time. 

Other Short Videos

- Abe's River Race: Participants

- Abe's River Race: Volunteers


Riding the Ripples

See the beautiful Sangamon River and watch several in a canoe and kayaks ride the ripples.