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

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.

The August 30, 2014 race was a big success.  There were showers before and after the race but skies cleared during the event.  The event was originally scheduled for June 28 but was postponed due to high water.  There were nearly 70 participants including some who dressed as Abe, we had a young Abe and one participant made his "Lincoln New Sail 'Em" out of single sheet of plywood and made it to the finish line.  A trio of friends made a raft out of recycled materials and navigated the river with poles made from slender trees.

Other Short Videos

- Abe's River Race: Participants 2013

- Abe's River Race: Volunteers


Riding the Ripples

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

2015 Race Memorial Day Weekend!   May 23, 2015