Houseboat on the lakeLincoln Trail - State Park

16985 E. 1350th Rd.
Marshall, IL 62441

Whether you are looking for history, unusual plant life or recreation, Lincoln Trail State Park has something to interest you. Located just west of Illinois Route 1, two miles south of Marshall in Clark County, the area is named after the trail Abraham Lincoln's family followed en route from Indiana to Illinois in 1831. Three Native American groups, the Miami, Kickapoo and Mascouten, occupied the site before it was ceded to the United States in the early 19th century.

Today, visitors to the 1,023-acre park can enjoy the sights of an American Beech woods; wildflowers, including the unusual squaw-root and beech drops; and recreational activities such as boating, camping, fishing, hiking and winter sports. There is truly something for everyone.

Lincoln Trail Lake

The focal point of the park is Lincoln Trail Lake, which covers 146 acres in the southwest corner of the park. With its numerous fingers and more than seven miles of thickly wooded shoreline, it offers one beautiful vista after another. Lincoln Trail Lake was the third lake created in Illinois (1955-1956) using federal monies under the Dingell-Johnson Act. The lake's maximum depth is 41 feet.

Lincoln Heritage Trail

Fifty years after Lincoln's death, the Illinois General Assembly authorized the Illinois State Historical Library to mark the exact route traveled by Abraham Lincoln from Kentucky through Indiana to Illinois. Almost another 50 years passed before the 1,000-mile trail was opened in 1963. With 3,000 markers showing the way, the trail winds through Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The Lincoln Trail State Park is just west of the Trail, as it follows Illinois Route 1. A few miles north of the park, the trail branches off onto a county road heading west toward Clarksville.


Long before Abraham Lincoln passed through the area, it was settled by Native Americans. Before the 18th century, the main tribes in the area were the Piankeshaw and Wea, of a Miami group. In the early 1700s, the Kickapoo moved south from Wisconsin, pushing the Piankeshaw and Wea south and east. The Kickapoos remained in control of the land until it was ceded to the United States in two separate treaties.

The western boundary of the first cession is known as the Old Indian Boundary Line or the One O'Clock Line. It runs through Clark County, passing through the Lincoln Trail State Park near the boat dock and crosses the campground. It is called the One O'Clock Line because it is said that, if you look south from Pilot Grove in Vermillion county, the boundary runs in the direction of the sun at one o'clock in the afternoon. The area west of the original boundary was ceded by the Kickapoo in 1819.

The state acquired the first 31 acres of the park in 1936. The park and lake were officially dedicated in 1958.

Plant Life

American Beech Woods, an Illinois Nature Preserve, is an especially noteworthy part of the park. The deep ravines of the preserve overflow with a beech-maple forest that is little changed from pioneer days. Southern Illinois and the eastern border of the state are the only areas where the American Beech grows in Illinois. It is a distinctive tree, with smooth gray bark. If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try to find squaw-root and beech drops. These two wildflowers are unusual because they lack chlorophyll.


The wooded shoreline is beautiful any time of the year and is the perfect spot for a picnic. Several shaded areas are furnished with tables, stoves, toilet facilities and water. Four shelters are also available, one of which has electricity. Children will appreciate the playground equipment at two of the larger picnic areas.


Two Class A campgrounds, Plainview and Lakeside, offer something for every type of camper. For those who like the beautiful sights and sounds of the great outdoors but prefer the amenities of home, both areas offer electricity, showers, tables, fireblocks, playground equipment, water, toilet facilities and a sanitary dumping station. For those who wish to be attuned to nature without the distractions of modern conveniences, Lakeside Campground also includes a Class C camping area for tents.

Organized adult or youth groups may wish to reserve the group camping area in advance by calling the park office.

All campers must obtain camping permits before entering the campground.  Campground Reservations are accepted.  


Take advantage of the opportunity or just enjoy the view of the shoreline from the lake. The docking facility includes a launching ramp and parking for boat trailers. Boat and seasonal dock rentals are available at the concession stand. Outboard motors are limited to 10 horsepower, and Illinois boating regulations must be observed.


Largemouth bass, bluegill, redear, sunfish, crappie and channel catfish abound at the lake and provide another source of enjoyment for visitors. Special size and creel limits are in effect for some species, so please check with the site superintendent's office for specific information on fishing opportunities and regulations.

Concession Stand

A full-service concession stand is located near the boat docks, offering a wide variety of refreshments and supplies, as well as boat and dock rentals. A room on the upper floor may also be rented for banquet dinners and meetings.


You can enhance the pleasure of your stay at the park by taking a short walk past the boat docks and campgrounds or a longer hike that lets you experience the diversity of the site.

The Beech Tree Trail is just a half-mile long, extending from the boat dock parking lot and concession stand, past the large picnic shelter, and to Lakeside Campground. The trail includes a series of stairways and foot bridges, which provide an excellent view of the beech maple forest contained within the nature preserve.

For the adventurous, Sand Ford Nature Trail is an opportunity to experience the park's habitat changes while enjoying a two-mile hike through an oak-hickory forest.

Winter Sports

To truly experience the beauty of winter, try one of the winter sports available at Lincoln Trail. Ice fishing and skating are allowed when weather conditions permit, and six miles of roadway around the lake are available for cross-country skiing when snow closes the roads to traffic. These activities are at the visitors' own risk.