Rend Lake Bike Trail In Illinois

Here is everything you need to know about the Rend Lake Bike Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Illinois
  • Length: 20 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Rend Lake Bike Trail, located in southern Illinois, has a rich history that dates back several decades. The trail was initially developed in the late 1970s as part of a larger project to enhance recreational opportunities around Rend Lake. The lake itself was created in the early 1970s as a result of damming the Big Muddy River, and the surrounding area quickly became a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The construction of the Rend Lake Bike Trail began in 1978, with the goal of providing a scenic and safe route for cyclists to explore the beautiful landscapes surrounding the lake. The trail was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the region, with sections winding through dense forests, along the lake’s shoreline, and across picturesque meadows. Over the years, the trail has been expanded and improved, with additional loops and connectors added to provide more options for riders of all skill levels.

Throughout its history, the Rend Lake Bike Trail has played a significant role in promoting tourism and outdoor recreation in the area. The trail has attracted both local residents and visitors from afar, who come to enjoy the serene surroundings and the opportunity to engage in various outdoor activities. The trail has also been a popular venue for organized cycling events, including races and charity rides, further contributing to its historical significance in the region.

Today, the Rend Lake Bike Trail continues to be a beloved destination for cyclists, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. Its historical roots and ongoing development reflect the commitment of the local community to preserve and promote the natural beauty of the area, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the benefits of this scenic and well-maintained trail.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area: This is the starting point of the Rend Lake Bike Trail. It offers parking facilities, restrooms, and picnic areas.

2. Rend Lake Visitor Center: Located near the Rend Lake Dam, this access point provides parking, restrooms, and information about the trail and surrounding area.

3. South Sandusky Beach: This beach area offers parking and restroom facilities, making it a convenient access point for bikers.

4. North Marcum Recreation Area: This access point provides parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is a popular spot for fishing and boating as well.

5. South Marcum Recreation Area: Similar to the North Marcum Recreation Area, this access point offers parking, restrooms, and picnic areas.

6. Gun Creek Recreation Area: This access point is located on the eastern side of the trail and provides parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is a great spot for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

7. North Sandusky Campground: Situated near the northern end of the trail, this campground offers parking, restrooms, and camping facilities. It is a convenient access point for overnight bikers.

8. South Sandusky Campground: Located near the southern end of the trail, this campground provides parking, restrooms, and camping facilities. It is another option for overnight bikers.

9. Benton City Park: This access point is located in the town of Benton and offers parking, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is a popular spot for locals and visitors to access the trail.

10. Whittington Woods Campground: Situated near the Whittington Woods Recreation Area, this campground provides parking, restrooms, and camping facilities. It is a convenient access point for bikers exploring the southern section of the trail.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Rend Lake Bike Trail. There may be additional smaller access points or parking areas along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Rend Lake Bike Rentals – Offers bike rentals for exploring the trail.
2. Rend Lake Shuttle Service – Provides shuttle services for convenient transportation to and from the trail.
3. Rend Lake Taxi – Offers taxi services for transportation needs in the area.
4. Rend Lake Bike Tours – Provides guided bike tours of the Rend Lake Bike Trail.
5. Rend Lake Pedicabs – Offers pedicab services for a unique and eco-friendly transportation option.
6. Rend Lake Scooter Rentals – Provides scooter rentals for a fun and efficient way to explore the trail.
7. Rend Lake Limousine Service – Offers luxury limousine transportation for a comfortable and stylish ride.
8. Rend Lake Public Transit – Provides public transit services for convenient transportation around the area.
9. Rend Lake Car Rentals – Offers car rentals for those looking for independent transportation options.
10. Rend Lake Trolley Tours – Provides trolley tours of the Rend Lake Bike Trail and surrounding areas.


The amenities available at the Rend Lake Bike Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities located at various points along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There are designated parking areas available for visitors to park their vehicles before accessing the bike trail.

3. Camping Sites: Rend Lake offers camping facilities for those who wish to stay overnight. There are designated camping areas with amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to restroom facilities.

4. Picnic Areas: There are several picnic areas along the bike trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas are equipped with picnic tables, grills, and trash bins.

5. Water Stations: There are water stations located at various points along the trail to provide visitors with access to clean drinking water.

6. Bike Rental: For those who do not have their own bikes, there are bike rental services available near the trailhead. This allows visitors to rent bikes and explore the trail.

7. Information Kiosks: There are information kiosks located at the trailhead and other key points along the trail. These kiosks provide maps, trail information, and safety guidelines for visitors.

8. Scenic Overlooks: The Rend Lake Bike Trail offers several scenic overlooks where visitors can stop and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake and surrounding nature.

9. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The trail passes through areas with diverse wildlife. There are designated viewing areas where visitors can observe and appreciate the local flora and fauna.

10. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, geology, and ecology of the area. These signs offer educational opportunities for visitors.

Please note that amenities may vary, and it is always recommended to check with the official website or local authorities for the most up-to-date information on amenities available at the Rend Lake Bike Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Rend Lake Resort – Lakeside lodging with a restaurant and bar.
2. Rend Lake Cabins – Cozy cabins near the trail with kitchenettes.
3. Rend Lake Campground – Campsites with amenities and lake access.
4. Rend Lake Golf Resort – Accommodations with a golf course and dining options.
5. Rend Lake Marina – Lakeside lodging and boat rentals.
6. Rend Lake RV Park – RV sites with full hookups and lake views.
7. Rend Lake Bed & Breakfast – Charming B&B with a homemade breakfast.
8. Rend Lake Lodge – Comfortable rooms with a restaurant and lounge.
9. Rend Lake Vacation Rentals – Private vacation homes near the trail.
10. Rend Lake Emergency Services – Local emergency services available for any emergencies.

Rend Lake Bike Trail Difficulty Notes

The Rend Lake Bike Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for cyclists of varying skill levels. With a total length of 19 miles, the trail provides a mix of flat and hilly terrain, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced riders. The trail is well-maintained and offers scenic views of Rend Lake, providing a pleasant and enjoyable riding experience. While some sections may present slight challenges, such as inclines or uneven surfaces, overall, the Rend Lake Bike Trail offers a manageable and rewarding cycling adventure.

Features And Attractions

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Usage Guidelines


Seasonal Information

The Rend Lake Bike Trail, located in southern Illinois, offers a picturesque and enjoyable experience for cyclists of all levels. The best times of the year to visit the trail are during the spring and fall seasons. In spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as the surrounding trees and flowers bloom. The weather is usually mild, making it perfect for a leisurely ride or a challenging workout. Fall is equally beautiful, with the changing foliage creating a stunning backdrop for your cycling adventure. The temperatures are cooler, making it a comfortable time to explore the trail.

It is important to note that the Rend Lake Bike Trail has seasonal closures during the winter months. Due to the potential for inclement weather and hazardous conditions, the trail is closed from December through February. This closure ensures the safety of cyclists and prevents any damage to the trail. However, the trail reopens in March, just in time for the arrival of spring.

During the open season, the Rend Lake Bike Trail offers a variety of amenities and services. There are several parking areas along the trail, making it convenient for visitors to access different sections. Additionally, there are restrooms and picnic areas available for cyclists to take a break and enjoy the scenic surroundings. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, providing a smooth and enjoyable ride for cyclists of all skill levels.

Overall, the best times to visit the Rend Lake Bike Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant and the scenery is at its most beautiful. While the trail is closed during the winter months, it reopens in March, allowing cyclists to once again enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities that the trail has to offer. Whether you are a casual rider or a seasoned cyclist, the Rend Lake Bike Trail is a must-visit destination for an unforgettable biking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A ramp or level surface at the trailhead to accommodate wheelchair users.
3. Smooth Surface: The trail is paved or has a smooth surface to ensure a comfortable ride for wheelchair users.
4. Wide Pathways: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and allows for easy passing.
5. Rest Areas: Designated spots along the trail with benches or seating for individuals to rest or take a break.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms along the trail that are wheelchair accessible and equipped with appropriate facilities.
7. Signage: Clear and visible signs along the trail to guide wheelchair users and provide information about the surroundings.
8. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic spots with tables and seating that are accessible for wheelchair users.
9. Handrails and Guardrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails and guardrails to ensure safety for all users.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains along the trail that are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users.
11. Trail Maps: Accessible maps or information boards at the trailhead to provide guidance and information for wheelchair users.
12. Accessible Trail Experiences: Opportunities for wheelchair users to engage in accessible activities along the trail, such as accessible fishing piers or wildlife viewing areas.
13. Accessible Trail Connections: The trail is connected to other accessible trails or facilities, allowing for extended accessible routes.
14. Accessible Transportation: Accessible transportation options to and from the trail, such as accessible parking shuttles or public transportation services.
15. Accessibility Information: Detailed information available online or at the trailhead regarding the specific accessibility features and accommodations of the Rend Lake Bike Trail.

Safety Information

When visiting the Rend Lake Bike Trail, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Wear a helmet: Always wear a properly fitted helmet to protect your head in case of a fall or collision. It is a crucial safety measure that can prevent severe head injuries.

2. Follow traffic rules: Treat the bike trail like a road and follow all traffic rules and regulations. Observe speed limits, stop at intersections, yield to pedestrians, and use hand signals when turning.

3. Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for other cyclists, pedestrians, wildlife, and any potential hazards on the trail.

4. Share the trail: The Rend Lake Bike Trail is often shared by cyclists, walkers, joggers, and families. Be courteous and respectful to others using the trail. Pass slower users with caution, giving them ample space and warning.

5. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the designated bike trail and avoid venturing onto unauthorized paths or areas. This ensures your safety and helps preserve the natural environment.

6. Carry identification and emergency contact information: Always carry identification and emergency contact information with you. In case of an accident or emergency, this information will be helpful for first responders.

7. Stay hydrated and carry essentials: Bring enough water to stay hydrated during your ride. Additionally, carry essentials like a small first aid kit, a cell phone, and any necessary medications.

8. Check weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast. Avoid riding during severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, or extreme heat.

9. Maintain your bike: Ensure your bike is in good working condition before starting your ride. Check the brakes, tires, and gears to ensure they are functioning properly. Regularly maintain and service your bike to prevent any mechanical issues during your ride.

10. Ride within your limits: Ride at a pace and distance that is comfortable for you. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can lead to fatigue and increase the risk of accidents. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when enjoying the Rend Lake Bike Trail. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Conservation Notes

The Rend Lake Bike Trail, located in southern Illinois, is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the region’s natural resources. The trail traverses through diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands, providing a habitat for a wide range of plant and animal species. As a result, the conservation status of the Rend Lake Bike Trail is of utmost importance to maintain the ecological balance and protect the biodiversity of the area.

Efforts have been made to ensure the conservation of the Rend Lake Bike Trail. The trail is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who work diligently to preserve the natural integrity of the surrounding environment. They implement various conservation practices, such as regular monitoring of the trail’s impact on the ecosystem, controlling invasive species, and promoting the growth of native vegetation. These measures help to maintain the ecological health of the area and protect the habitats of numerous plant and animal species.

Furthermore, the Rend Lake Bike Trail is subject to conservation regulations that aim to minimize human disturbance and preserve the natural environment. Visitors are encouraged to follow designated paths and refrain from littering or damaging the surrounding vegetation. By adhering to these guidelines, visitors contribute to the conservation efforts and help maintain the trail’s ecological balance.

Overall, the conservation status of the Rend Lake Bike Trail is actively managed and monitored to ensure the preservation of its diverse ecosystems. Through the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and responsible visitors, the trail continues to serve as a vital conservation area, protecting the region’s natural resources and promoting the sustainability of its ecosystems.

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