Lincoln Heritage 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.
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 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.
Lincoln traveled the Sangamon by flatboat until landing at New Salem where history and his legacy began.
The 2015 Abe's River Race participants enjoyed a beautiful day on the Sangamon River. Enjoy the slideshow and relive the memories, or see what you missed. We are planning a Fall Foliage Float in early October so check back for more information.
Other Short Videos
See the beautiful Sangamon River and watch several in a canoe and kayaks ride the ripples.