Trails

For a map of all trails at Two Rivers visit our map page.

Contact information: To report an emergency or ongoing violation call 911. If you encounter a wildlife crime not in progress, contact our Federal Wildlife Officer Ken Griffith at 309-535-2290.

If you see a down tree or obstacle on the trail, please call the refuge office at 618-883-2524, if our office is closed, please leave a detailed voicemail so we can quickly take care of it. 

Dogs are welcome on our trails! We ask visitors to clean up solid waste and to always keep pets on a leash to avoid disturbing animals that rely on the refuge.

Wildlife Haven Trail

Open Season: Open year round. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

Location of trail: Starts and ends west end of the visitor contact station and headquarters office parking lot.

Surface: Grass, dirt, gravel - not ADA compliant

Design elements: This is a multi-surface trail that can have dips and bumps. The trail goes around a pond that can make the trail wet at certain times of the year. Along the south end of the pond is a bench.

Difficulty: Easy

Amenities: Visitor contact station within walking distance of the trail. Outdoor vault bathroom available off the parking area near the trail. Bathrooms are also available in the visitor contact station when open.

Information: This trail takes you on a walk through the prairie to view the seasonally changing flowers and grasses, by a pond to see frogs and busy dragonflies, and into the woods to explore a forest habitat. We recommend wearing closed toed shoes you don’t mind getting wet, since the trail skirts around a pond the trail can be wet or have puddles at certain times of the year.
Trail Length (mi)
0.43
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
1 hour
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Hiking
Painting and drawing
Photography
Wild edible foraging
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Calhoun Wetland Observation Deck Trail

Open Season: Open to the public year-round

Location of trail: Pull-off paved parking area located next to Illinois River Road Hwy 1 with the trail head and information kiosk on the right side of the parking area.

Surface: Concrete, wood, ADA accessible

Design elements: This paved trail leads to a wood viewing platform which features an accessible ramp and benches. The viewing platform takes you over a small stream.

Difficulty: Easy

Amenities: Paved parking lot and information kiosk.

Information: This short out-and-back trail leads to an ADA accessible observation deck that overlooks managed wetlands. Hunting can occur in areas near the viewing platform, so we suggest wearing bright colors like blaze orange to make yourself visible to hunters. To learn more about the timing and location of hunting at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, visit our Laws and Regulations page under What We Do on our main page.

This trail is a total of 0.12 miles out-and-back.
Trail Length (mi)
0.06
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
20 minutes
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Accessible trails
Birding
Dog walking
Hiking
Painting and drawing
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
Wheelchair friendly
View Trail

Duncan Farm Trail

Open Season: Open to the public year-round. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

Location of trail: An out-and-back trail that starts at the Duncan Farm information kiosk in the Gilbert Lake division.

Surface: Grass, dirt, gravel - not ADA compliant

Design elements: This is a multi-surface trail that can have dips and bumps.

Difficulty: Moderate

Amenities: Parking lot and information kiosk.

Information: This trail takes your through the prairie grasses and bottomland forest of the floodplain of the Illinois River and past a Native American archeological site. While hiking, look for the decurrent false aster, a Federally threatened plant species.

The Gilbert Lake Division allows hunting, so we suggest wearing bright colors like blaze orange to make yourself visible to hunters. To learn more about the timing and location of hunting at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, visit our Laws and Regulations page under What We Do on our main page.

This trail is 1.36 miles out-and-back.
Trail Length (mi)
0.68
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Estimated Time
1 hour
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Hiking
Hunting
Painting and drawing
Photography
Running
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Gilbert Lake Hiking Trail

Open Season: Open to the public year-round. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

Location of trail: After you pass the Brussels Ferry traveling northeast on highway 100, the Gilbert Lake trailhead will be your next left with a sign that says “Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge – Gilbert Lake” directly across the road from where you turn left. About 0.2 miles down the gravel road is a parking area and information kiosk. The trail continues from the parking area around Gilbert Lake.

Surface: Gravel – not ADA accessible

Design elements: This is a gravel trail through a floodplain forest so you may encounter down branches or trees.

Difficulty: Moderate

Amenities: Parking lot and information kiosk.

Information: This out-and-back trail separates Gilbert Lake from the Illinois River. Both allow fantastic views of wildlife and habitat! The Gilbert Lake Division allows hunting, so we suggest wearing bright colors like blaze orange to make yourself visible to hunters. To learn more about the timing and location of hunting at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, visit our Laws and Regulations page under What We Do on our main page.

This trail is a total of 5.94 miles out-and-back.
Trail Length (mi)
2.97
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Estimated Time
2 hours
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Fishing
Hiking
Hunting
Painting and drawing
Photography
Running
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Prairie Adventure Trail

Open Season: Open to the public year-round. Not open to biking or horseback riding.

Location of trail: Starts and ends just off the visitor contact station and headquarters office deck.

Surface: Grass, dirt, gravel - not ADA compliant

Design elements: This is a multi-surface trail that can have dips and bumps. There is a trail head sign visible from the base of the observation deck. The trail goes up and down a small hill and offers little shade.

Difficulty: Easy

Amenities: Visitor contact station within walking distance of the trail. Outdoor vault bathroom available off the parking area near the trail. Bathrooms are also available in the visitor contact station when open.

Information: This trail winds through a tall grass prairie. Follow the trail to the photography blind to capture photos of wildlife while being out of their sight.
Trail Length (mi)
0.49
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / introductory
Easy
Estimated Time
1 hour
Route Type
Loop
Trail Activities
Birding
Dog walking
Hiking
Painting and drawing
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail

Swan Lake Levee Trail

Open Season: Open to the public January 1st through October 15th.

Location of trail: Follow signs for the Swan Lake area off Illinois River Road. The trail begins at the parking area by a gate and ends at another gate.

Surface: Gravel – not ADA accessible

Design elements: Since the trail functions as a flood control levee there is a 100 yard-wide low spot or spillway that acts to control where water flows over the levee should water levels raise high enough to overtop it. Because the spillway is 3 feet lower than the rest of the levee we don't recommend wheelchairs past the spillway. The trail also crosses over a water control structure with safety cables around the perimeter. The remainder of the trail has a gradual slope on each side.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Amenities: Parking lot and information kiosk.

Information: This out-and-back levee is used to control water levels in Swan Lake and is a popular hiking trail for birding, walking, fishing, and wildlife photography. Because this levee is used for management you may encounter vehicles passing through, we ask all visitors to yield to heavy equipment and vehicles using the levee.

The Illinois River boarders the other side of the levee where you can expect to see barge and boat traffic, and waterfowl hunters in the fall. We suggest wearing bright colors like blaze orange to make yourself visible to hunters. To learn more about the timing and location of hunting at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, visit our Laws and Regulations page under What We Do on our main page.

This trail is a total of 12.3 miles out-and-back.
Trail Length (mi)
6.15
Trail Difficulty
Difficulty Meter / intermediate
Moderate
Estimated Time
4 hours
Route Type
Out & back
Trail Activities
Biking
Birding
Dog walking
Education programs
Fish viewing
Fishing
Hiking
Hunting
Painting and drawing
Photography
Wildlife watching
Suitability
Dog friendly
Kid friendly
View Trail