Trail Run Project Logo

River to River Trail

Intermediate
 4.0 (4)

This 160-mile trail spans from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River. Updated trail based on 2017 cartographer maps.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

161.0

Miles

259.0

KM

94%

Runnable

921' 281 m

High

351' 107 m

Low

16,981' 5,176 m

Up

16,975' 5,174 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Cave · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Views

- Free primitive camping year-round at least 1/4mi outside campground/picnic areas. Camping in one location 14 days max. No permanent structures.
- Stay on trails.
- Designated wilderness' for primitive recreation. Garden of the Gods, Lusk Creek & Bay Creek Wilderness', groups limited to 10 people.
- Use exisiting campsites. Follow Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.
- No camping in Natural Areas; marked on ground w/yellow posts labeled "Natural Area".
- Camp/wash min. 150ft away from trails.

Description

The trail passes through some of the most scenic areas of southern Illinois: upland forests, wetlands, grasslands, bluffs, heading through five nationally designated wilderness areas, designated natural areas and a number of state parks. You may see bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, bobcats, armadillos, red foxes, while being home to some 250 bird species.

The majority of this long distance trail heads through public lands (national forest / state parks), however, a couple segments use easements on private land, please respect these parcels as you cross them. Along the trail, revel at the quiet beauty of the bluffs above Cedar Lake, breathtaking sunsets at Garden of the Gods, and migrating waterfowl who use the surrounding floodplains of the Mississippi River to roost or find temporary shelter.

Info:
- No permits/reservations necessary.
- No permits required for designated wilderness camping.
- Open Seasons Year-round
- Busiest Seasons: April/May and September/October
- Forest HQ: (618) 253-7114

Water:
- Treat/filter water. Creeks/streams not reliable sources during periods of no rain.

Parking:
- Overnight parking allowed at trailheads & along Forest Roads. When parking along Forest Roads, do not block traffic or cause resource damage on soft soil/vegetation.

Campgrounds near the River to River Trail (fee / not free):
- Camp Cadiz
- Garden of the Gods
- Ferne Clyffe State Park
- Giant City State Park

Primitive Camping Outside of Campgrounds:
- Primitive camping is allowed in the Shawnee National Forest with the exception of developed recreation areas, 80 natural areas, on lake shores, near streams or on trails. Equestrian camping is not allowed in Wilderness. Primitive camping is free and is allowed any time of year. Do not trespass on private land and do not cut down live trees, shrubs or other vegetation. Clean up all personal garbage and make sure all fires are completely out. Campers may camp up to 14 continuous days, but no permanent structures may be built.

Contacts

Shared By:

Joe Kempf

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 4 votes

#10288

Overall
  4.0 from 4 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#115

in Illinois

#10,288

Overall
36 Views Last Month
6,555 Since Nov 16, 2017
Intermediate

0%
0%
67%
33%
0%
0%

Photos

Millstone Lake-R2R junction trail sign.
Dec 22, 2021 near Carrier…, IL
Campsite
Mar 1, 2018 near Rosiclare, IL
Cool spot just off the R2R and Straight Street. Good spot for water.
Apr 4, 2019 near Carrier…, IL
A natural bridge with a stone backdrop.
Jan 3, 2021 near Goreville, IL
Cool small tunnel/cave you can crawl through
Jan 30, 2019 near Elizabe…, IL
Old stairs looking back
Jan 30, 2019 near Elizabe…, IL

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Minor Issues 79 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Mar 23, 2021
Michael West
River to River trail 32mi