The Chief Shabbona Trail is a part of the 61 mile long National Park Service Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor that is ideal for hiking, bicycling and canoeing. The trail is open year round and all activities just mentioned are free to the public. While the trail offers eight different access points allowing for various trail lengths, you can earn the official Chief Shabbona Patch by completing the 15 mile stretch from Channahon to Gebhard Woods.
Well protected from traffic and the elements, the Shabbona Trail is primarily a compacted gravel trail and there is only one point where a rural two-lane road is crossed. The remainder of the trail is a National Park Service trail that is maintained by the State of Illinois. Much of the trail is near the Illinois River and is mostly tree lined making it an ideal location for hiking and backpacking, bicylcing, canoeing or kayaking, and cross country skiing.
Established on July 30th, 1960 by Troop 25, The Chief Shabbona Historical Trail is Nationally Approved by the Boy Scouts of America and follows the paths that Shabbona was known to have walked. Over 10,000 scouts have hiked the trail by 1963. In 2010 the trail celebrated its’ 50 anniversary. While hiking along the trail you will see full size replicas of canal boats, a locktender’s house, working stone blocks and a fully restored stone aqueducts…..which date back to the mid 19th century.
The nearby Illinois River provides for many panoramic views while the habitat ranges from dense woods to open prairie grasslands. The trail is shaded in most areas by a variety of trees including walnut, oak, ash, maple, sycamore, hawthorn and cottonwood. If you are into birding, you will find songbirds, mallards, wood ducks, green herons and great blue herons feeding and nesting along the trail. If you are also into fishing…….you can try your hand at catching bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and bullhead. Other wildlife include beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon and deer can often be seen. wiki