Lincoln Heritage Water Trail
Discover the Beauty
and enjoy nature when you explore the Sangamon River, made famous by Abraham Lincoln when he stopped and then lived at New Salem.
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!
Visit the Photos Page to see a video slideshow of the race.
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.
Lincoln traveled the Sangamon by flatboat until landing at New Salem where history and his legacy began.
The race was a great event, despite a stormy forecast. Temperatures were in the low 80s and the race was held. There were five categories of racing and beautiful engraved paddles were the top prizes. Two slideshows have been created to share the experience with those who participated and those who may want to join us next time. We also recognize the many volunteers. The videos are linked below:
See the beautiful Sangamon River and watch several in a canoe and kayaks ride the ripples.