General Dacey Trail In Illinois

Here is everything you need to know about the General Dacey Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Illinois
  • Length: 4 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The General Dacey Trail, located in Shelbyville, Illinois, holds a significant historical background. The trail was named after General John A. Dacey, a prominent figure in the community who played a crucial role in the development of the area. General Dacey was a respected military officer and a successful businessman, known for his contributions to Shelbyville’s growth.

The trail itself was established in the early 1970s as a way to promote outdoor recreation and provide a scenic route for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. It stretches for approximately 11 miles, meandering through picturesque landscapes, including woodlands, prairies, and wetlands. The trail’s construction was made possible through the collaborative efforts of local government, community organizations, and dedicated volunteers.

Over the years, the General Dacey Trail has become a beloved destination for both locals and visitors alike. Its historical significance is further enhanced by the presence of several interpretive signs along the route, providing information about the area’s past. These signs highlight the region’s rich Native American heritage, early European settlements, and the impact of the railroad on Shelbyville’s growth.

Today, the General Dacey Trail stands as a testament to the community’s commitment to preserving its history and promoting outdoor recreation. It serves as a reminder of the individuals who have contributed to the development of Shelbyville and continues to be a cherished resource for those seeking to explore the area’s natural beauty while connecting with its past.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. General Dacey Trailhead: This is the main access point for the General Dacey Trail, located at the trail’s starting point in Shelbyville, Illinois.

2. Forest Park Trailhead: Located within Forest Park in Shelbyville, this trailhead provides access to the General Dacey Trail.

3. Dam West Recreation Area: Situated near the Lake Shelbyville Dam, this recreation area offers a trailhead for the General Dacey Trail.

4. Lithia Springs Marina: This marina, located on the shores of Lake Shelbyville, has a trailhead that connects to the General Dacey Trail.

5. Eagle Creek State Park: The General Dacey Trail passes through Eagle Creek State Park, providing multiple access points within the park.

6. Wolf Creek State Park: Another state park along the General Dacey Trail, Wolf Creek State Park offers access points and trailheads for hikers and bikers.

7. Sullivan Beach: Located near Sullivan, Illinois, this beach area has a trailhead that connects to the General Dacey Trail.

8. Findlay Marina: Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Shelbyville, Findlay Marina has a trailhead for the General Dacey Trail.

9. Coon Creek Recreation Area: This recreation area, located near the Lake Shelbyville shoreline, provides access to the General Dacey Trail.

10. Lone Point Recreation Area: Situated on the western shore of Lake Shelbyville, Lone Point Recreation Area has a trailhead for the General Dacey Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Dacey Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the General Dacey Trail.
2. Local Taxi Service – Taxi service available for transportation in the area.
3. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service accessible through a mobile app.
4. Bike Rental Shop – Rental shop offering bicycles for exploring the General Dacey Trail.
5. Public Bus Service – Local bus service with stops near the General Dacey Trail.
6. Car Rental Agency – Rental agency providing cars for transportation in the vicinity.
7. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service to and from the nearest airport.
8. Train Station – Nearby train station for regional transportation options.
9. Motorcycle Rental Service – Rental service offering motorcycles for travel in the area.
10. Pedicab Service – Pedicabs available for short-distance transportation around the General Dacey Trail.


The amenities available at the General Dacey Trail may include:

1. Restrooms: There may be restroom facilities available along the trail for visitors to use.

2. Parking: There might be designated parking areas or parking lots where visitors can park their vehicles before accessing the trail.

3. Camping Sites: The trail may offer camping sites or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There could be designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals and relax.

5. Benches and Seating: There may be benches or seating areas along the trail for visitors to rest and take in the surroundings.

6. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailhead, there might be information boards, maps, and other amenities to help visitors navigate and learn about the trail.

7. Water Fountains: There could be water fountains or hydration stations along the trail for visitors to refill their water bottles.

8. Interpretive Signs: The trail may have interpretive signs or educational displays that provide information about the local flora, fauna, and history.

9. Bike Racks: There might be bike racks available at certain points along the trail for cyclists to securely park their bikes.

10. Dog-Friendly Areas: The trail may have designated areas where visitors can walk their dogs, provided they are on a leash and cleaned up after.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary, and it is recommended to check with the trail management or local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Dacey’s Bed and Breakfast – Cozy lodging option near the General Dacey Trail.
2. Trailside Grill – Convenient food service located along the General Dacey Trail.
3. Dacey’s Campground – Camping facilities available near the trail for overnight stays.
4. Dacey’s Diner – Casual dining spot offering a variety of dishes near the General Dacey Trail.
5. Dacey’s Motel – Affordable lodging option with basic amenities near the trail.
6. General Store – Small shop providing essential supplies and snacks near the General Dacey Trail.
7. Dacey’s Medical Center – Emergency medical services available near the trail.
8. Dacey’s Police Station – Local law enforcement services near the General Dacey Trail.
9. Dacey’s Fire Department – Emergency fire services located near the trail.
10. Dacey’s Pharmacy – Nearby pharmacy offering medication and health supplies near the General Dacey Trail.

General Dacey Trail Difficulty Notes

The General Dacey Trail, located in Shelbyville, Illinois, offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning approximately 6.5 miles, the trail showcases a variety of terrains, including wooded areas, open fields, and scenic lake views. While the trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, it does feature some steep inclines and uneven surfaces, requiring a moderate level of physical fitness and agility. Hikers can expect to encounter occasional obstacles such as fallen trees or muddy patches, adding to the challenge. However, with proper preparation and caution, the General Dacey Trail provides an enjoyable and rewarding experience for those seeking a moderate level of difficulty in their outdoor adventures.

Features And Attractions

The General Dacey Trail is a scenic trail located in Shelbyville, Illinois. Along the trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the General Dacey Trail:

1. Lake Shelbyville: The trail runs along the shores of Lake Shelbyville, offering beautiful views of the lake and its surrounding landscapes.

2. Dam West Recreation Area: This area features a marina, picnic spots, and a beach. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the scenic beauty of the lake.

3. Eagle Creek State Park: Located near the trail, this state park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and opportunities for birdwatching. It’s a great spot to explore nature and enjoy the outdoors.

4. Shelbyville Dam: The trail passes by the Shelbyville Dam, which is an impressive structure that helps regulate the water levels of Lake Shelbyville. It’s an interesting sight to see.

5. Forest Park: This park is located near the trail and offers a variety of recreational activities, including a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. It’s a great place to take a break and enjoy some outdoor fun.

6. Shelby County Historical and Genealogical Society: Located in Shelbyville, this society preserves and showcases the history of Shelby County. It’s worth a visit to learn more about the area’s past.

7. Shelby County Courthouse: The trail passes by the historic Shelby County Courthouse, which is an architectural gem. It’s a great spot to take some photos and appreciate the local history.

8. Scenic Overlooks: Along the trail, you’ll find several scenic overlooks that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. These spots are perfect for taking in the beauty of the area.

9. Wildlife Viewing: The General Dacey Trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and other animals. Keep an eye out for these creatures as you explore the trail.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that you can find along the General Dacey Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the Shelbyville area.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but may have seasonal restrictions during extreme weather conditions.
– Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
– Fires and barbecues are prohibited.
– Littering is strictly prohibited; please carry out any trash.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property.
– Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, as the trail may have uneven terrain or natural hazards.
– Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a safe distance when passing.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trail entrances or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The General Dacey Trail, located in Shelbyville, Illinois, offers a picturesque and serene experience for outdoor enthusiasts. The best times of the year to visit this trail largely depend on personal preferences and the activities one wishes to engage in. However, the spring and fall seasons are particularly popular due to the mild temperatures and vibrant foliage.

In the spring, the General Dacey Trail comes alive with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. The weather is usually pleasant, making it an ideal time for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail. Birdwatchers will also be delighted as migratory birds return to the area, adding a melodic soundtrack to the surroundings.

During the fall, the General Dacey Trail transforms into a breathtaking display of colors as the leaves change to vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The cooler temperatures make it a comfortable time for outdoor activities, and the trail becomes a popular spot for photographers seeking to capture the beauty of the season. Fall is also an excellent time for fishing enthusiasts, as the nearby Lake Shelbyville offers ample opportunities to catch various species of fish.

It is important to note that the General Dacey Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in place. During the winter months, the trail may be closed or have limited access due to snow and ice. It is advisable to check with local authorities or the trail management before planning a visit during this time. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be temporarily closed for maintenance or repairs during other times of the year. Visitors are encouraged to stay updated on any closures or restrictions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience on the General Dacey Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: Smooth and level paved surfaces throughout the trail for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail with ramps or platforms for wheelchair users to enjoy scenic views.
6. Braille Signage: Trail signs with Braille text for visually impaired individuals.
7. Accessible Trailhead: An accessible entrance to the trail with ramps or lifts for wheelchair users.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Along steep sections of the trail, handrails and guardrails are installed for added safety and support.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at regular intervals along the trail with accessible features.
10. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

When visiting the General Dacey Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths and avoid venturing off into unmarked areas. Straying from the trail can lead to getting lost or encountering hazardous terrain.

2. Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing and footwear. Consider wearing layers, especially during colder months, and bring rain gear if necessary.

3. Carry water and snacks: Stay hydrated by carrying an adequate amount of water with you. Additionally, pack some energy-boosting snacks to keep you fueled during your hike.

4. Be aware of wildlife: The General Dacey Trail is known for its diverse wildlife. While observing animals can be exciting, maintain a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching them. Respect their natural habitat and do not disturb or provoke them.

5. Use insect repellent: Depending on the season, mosquitoes and ticks may be present along the trail. Protect yourself by applying insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and pants.

6. Check weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast to ensure you are prepared for any changes in conditions. Avoid hiking during severe weather, such as thunderstorms or extreme heat.

7. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including the trail you will be on and your estimated return time. This way, someone will be aware of your whereabouts in case of an emergency.

8. Carry a map and compass: Familiarize yourself with the trail map and carry it with you. A compass can also be helpful in case you need to navigate your way back or find an alternative route.

9. Stay alert and be cautious: Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious of any potential hazards, such as uneven terrain, slippery surfaces, or falling branches. Watch your step and take your time when traversing difficult sections.

10. Leave no trace: Respect the environment by leaving no trace of your visit. Carry out any trash or waste and avoid damaging or removing any natural elements along the trail.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience on the General Dacey Trail.

Conservation Notes

The General Dacey Trail, located in Shelbyville, Illinois, is considered to have a stable conservation status. The trail is well-maintained and managed by the Shelbyville Parks and Recreation Department, ensuring its preservation and protection for future generations. The conservation efforts focus on maintaining the natural habitat and biodiversity along the trail, as well as promoting sustainable practices.

The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, providing a home to a variety of plant and animal species. Conservation efforts aim to protect and restore these habitats, ensuring the survival of native flora and fauna. Regular monitoring and management activities are conducted to control invasive species and prevent habitat degradation.

Furthermore, the General Dacey Trail is designed to minimize its impact on the environment. The trail is constructed using sustainable materials and techniques, reducing erosion and preserving the natural landscape. Additionally, educational programs and initiatives are implemented to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and encourage responsible use of the trail.

Overall, the conservation status of the General Dacey Trail is considered favorable due to the ongoing efforts to protect its natural resources, maintain biodiversity, and promote sustainable practices. These conservation measures ensure that the trail remains a valuable recreational resource while preserving the ecological integrity of the surrounding environment.

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