Rend Lake Bike Trail


8 Reviews

View Trail Map
View Map
Send to App

Register for free!

Register for free with TrailLink today!

We're a non-profit all about helping you enjoy the outdoors
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your own favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Leave reviews for trails
  • Add new and edit existing trails

Rend Lake Bike Trail Facts

States: Illinois
Counties: Franklin, Jefferson
Length: 20.6 miles
Trail end points: Rend Lake College and North Sandusky Campground
Trail surfaces: Concrete, Crushed Stone
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6527549

Rend Lake Bike Trail Description

The Rend Lake Bike Trail, in the heart of southern Illinois, goes around nearly half of the second-largest man-made lake in the state. Along the way, trail-goers will enjoy picturesque views of the tree-lined water, prairie grasslands, wetlands, waterfowl and other wildlife. The trail is mostly flat, except where it descends from lake level to cross the Big Muddy River below the dam and spillway.

The trail is comprised of three discontiguous sections, all separated by stretches of narrow rural highways many will feel too unsafe to ride. But each section stands alone on its own merit, even if all are not ridden together. Future trail plans include connecting these three sections.

The first 5.9-mile section of the trail—the only section that is crushed stone and not concrete—begins in the northeast, between the village of Ina and Rend Lake College. From there it enters Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park and approaches the Rend Lake Resort, before turning to pass through woods and meadows and end at State Route 154.

Off the same SR 154, just west of I-57, the second and shortest section of the trail (3.8 miles) continues southward past the Southern Illinois Artisans Shop & Visitors Center, Seasons Lodge and Golf Course, and more woodlands and open spaces.

The centerpiece of the 10.9-mile southern trail section is the large and well-staffed visitor center just west of the dam. From there you can ride east for 4.8 miles, down to cross the river and back up to a campground and day use area. From the visitor center you can also ride north for 6.1 miles, past a marina, a beach, and multiple campground and public use areas.

Parking and Trail Access

Multiple parking and access points are available at the campgrounds and beaches along the trail, at the Rend Lake Visitor Center and in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park.

To reach the Rend Lake Visitor Center from I-57, take Exit 71 and turn west onto State Route 14. Go west for 2.7 miles and turn right onto Rend City Road. Proceed 2.9 miles to Rend Lake Dam Road, turn left and immediately back right into parking lot.

Rend Lake Bike Trail Reviews

Great Ride

We started in the back of the South Marcum Campground, followed the path and rode out 11.5 miles around Dam to other side of lake. We saw 24 deer and other wildlife, had the trail all to ourselves, 23 miles round trip.

great bike trail

Stayed at Gun Creek Campground. Easily hopped on bike trail at golf course water tower. Trail was fully paved, rode through beautiful wooded sections.


It was really nice and I was riding a road bike. I went pretty fast definitely be careful on bridge going to fast super rough bc the gaps. Smooth ride and away from to much heat when going through woods.

Beautiful, well-maintained trail

We rode the west/north leg of the trail & it was a beautiful fall ride, with enough gradual hills & curves to keep it interesting. The trail is mostly away from the highway, and connects several beautiful campgrounds, in addition to the Visitor Center and Dam site. An enjoyable ride for two seniors!


Very enjoyable biking

My husband and I just stayed at South Marcum campgrounds. We rode the bike trails there, at North and South Sandusky and also Wayne Fitzgerald State Park. We enjoyed it very much and will camp again just to bike there. Most of the trail is paved. We saw deer and baby fawns, turkeys, and even a groundhog.

Nice even in November

We visited in mid-November. Many of the parking areas were closed but the larger ones were open. We saw several deer, including some young ones that eyed us very curiously and didn't bound away until we got close. A surprised buck lifted his large rack of antlers and gave us an annoyed snort before flipping up his white tail and leaping into the woods. We saw a few fishermen but no other bicyclists. It's a beautiful place, even in the cold grey of November.

Dam Good Trail

We have ridden all the trails in the Rend Lake complex. They are good rides. The COE trails are all paved. The State of Illinois side is crushed stone and part paved. The hills are easy to climb. All in all, a great trail(s) to ride. Cannot wait until the trail extends the entire circumference of the lake.
The trail from South Marcum to North Sandusky is the most scenic, especially the dam area. But there are parts of the Gun Creek side that are scenic, too.
You should enjoy these trails. Besides scenery, we have seen snakes, lizards, deer and turkey. These critters all have the implicit right of way.

The lake. The woods. The meadows.

This is a really nice off-road trail, both for folks staying at the lake on vacation and for those coming in for a day visit. Whether you're wanting a good, safe pathway from one area of the park to another, or you're riding to be alone and take it all in. The scenery and park amenities couldn't be nicer, and the trail is entirely in very good condition. Enjoy your day or days at Rend Lake.

Nearby Trails

Go Unlimited Today!

  • FREE Account
  • View over 40,000 miles of trail maps
  • Post your trail reviews
  • Share your trail photos
  • Save your favorite trails
  • Learn about new trails near you
  • Get a free map in the app!
Register for FREE
Purchase Unlimited

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google

Log in with Apple


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 40,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google

Register with Apple


Your account has been deleted.