River Ridge Trail

MODERATE 30 reviews
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River Ridge Trail is a 10.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Danville, Illinois that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

10.3 miles
1,000 feet

dogs on leash





nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



This trail can be hiked in one day but is set up with a back country campsites for backpack camping. It winds around the perimeter of the park and links together several smaller trails. Hikers are supposed to check in with the park office to hike the most remote length. Old and new growth with not a lot of elevation change but enough to challenge.

13 days ago

An early mile of poor marked trail, swiftly becomes a most awesome and varied nature experience. Its got groves, glens, rivers and roads. Perfect lunch spot at about mile 5.5 of the backpacking trail (rock ledge overlooking river). Very islolated - we didnt see a soul. Backpacking camps had bathrooms, garbage, picnic tables. There def are good water sources (not filtered) but need to plan that out - some would be hard to get to though you’re essentially following a river the whole time.

1 month ago

We just did this trail, June 6, 2018. The day was about 83°. There is a long section through some pretty heavy overgrowth with almost no the creek with high hills on both sides. There wasn’t much wind or breeze so the bugs were getting annoying. That said it is June so if you do this during the summer bring some bug spray.

We saw plenty of deer, fawns, black squirrels, owls, hawks etc. the “red” backpack trail needs a few more clear signs. We wandered off the red trail a couple of times because some intersecting trails weren’t clearly marked. We added about 1-2 miles because of this.

This would be a great fall hike and overnight. There are a ton of places to hang a hammock or pitch a tent.

The people in the ranger main office were great. We had the trail to ourselves and didn’t see another hiker out there.

2 months ago

Pleasantly surprised with this trail. Moderately challenging with many ascents, descents and creek crossings through a beautiful section of deciduous forest. The trail is about 11 Miles with many offshoots if you want you explore more. The backpacking trail is marked with red arrows, paint on trees and red banners around trees. It is fairly well marked but I did have to stop and reference my map and compass one time. There are two areas to camp. I hiked 8 Miles to east camp and finished the final 3 Miles in the morning; it worked out very well.

There is a $10 fee and registration is due 1 week prior to hiking. Make sure to visit the website and plan ahead. I went during mid April so there was barely any traffic and it was still cold at night. I assume traffic picks up in May and June and may not be as enjoyable (I prefer solitude in the outdoors). You could hike the trail in one day but it makes for a nice little overnight trip.

Whitetail and wild turkey were plentiful.

3 months ago

Overall, a challenging (but rewarding) trail for this moderately-experienced hiker.

On arrival, enter the park from the south entrance on 1950 East Rd. The sign at the gate says something like "Authorized Vehicles Only: Staff and Deliveries Only" but go on in -- this is the direct route to the parking lot for overnight stays, the check-in office, and the trailhead.

The trail was generally well-blazed. There were a few points where I had to consults my AllTrails map on my phone to make sure I was going in the correct direction, but overall the trail was easy to follow. Make sure to do the trail clockwise, else the blazes will not be visible to you.

There are a number of creek crossings -- more than 20 -- and very few have any sort of improvement to assist. If you're on the fence about trekking poles, this should convince you to bring and use them. You'll need them for navigating the many crossings without getting wet and muddy.

Several of the improvements that have been made along the trail were in disrepair and unusable. On the otherhand, there was one brand new bridge, so obviously they are at least trying to keep the trail usable.

The campsites along the trail (about a dozen individual sites in two locations) were primitive, but did feature an outhouse, trashcans and picnic tables. Most had rock-ringed fire pits.

One of the nice things about this trail is that it goes through a variety of landscapes -- wooded, creekside, meadowland forest, wetland, and prairie. There are some serious climbs and descents, but nothing impossible. One descent was rope-assisted, and one climb up from the creek required pulling myself up about 8 feet by tree roots, but those were the exceptions.

Love this park! Beautiful bluff views of the river!

4 months ago

For Illinois, this is about the best you can find for overnight backpacking trips. It is VERY hilly, the campsites are great as well. I went during winter, can't wait to go back during summer. About 3 hours from Chicago.

5 months ago

I have backpacked this trail in pretty all seasons, the best time I think is in the winter with snowshoes. But the great trail to try out new gear and prep for longer trails. I like to use it for testing out gear, the trail can be hiked in a day, however, you can hike it twice in a weekend.

The trail is not marked the best as some say it is, and most of the man-made structures like bridges, steps assists are pretty warned or just crap. Some parts of the trail are near private residents and they have several dogs that do roam and like to chase day hikers, backpackers. The trail starts out flat but half of it is up and down and side of the hills. If you have knee or foot problems probably better take it slow or go with a buddy.

Overall fun time and always an adventure. Except for the $10.00 for the permit. See ya'll out on the trail!

David "Hippie Hiker"

8 months ago

I love this trail. It’s a great place to practice & hone one’s backpacking skills. There’s a small stream near the East Camp that is a suitable water source for filtration.

Monday, April 03, 2017

The trail was well marked, however some of the crossing structures were either missing or broken. Overall, this is a great trail for overnight hiking. Plenty of water too.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Absolutely beautiful and hardly anyone on the trails!

trail running
Friday, November 11, 2016

Best trail within an hours drive of Champaign Urbana. Rugged, steep sections, outstanding place, wish it was closer to home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A lot of the trail isn't clearly marked and there are plenty of places to accidentally deviate. Make sure you have a full battery on your phone and nothing on that could be draining the battery. You'll need the app GPS to get your bearings a lot.

Also, your GPS may take you to the back entrance of Forest Glen Preserve which is employee use only.  Enter through the main entrance and work your way back to the trail head.

Posting at the start says pre-registration is required.  I didn't register because I didn't know I was supposed to register and had driven about 1.75 hours to get there.  You might find a link to preregister here:. http://www.vccd.org/giforestglen.html

Monday, September 05, 2016

Lots of small trails with some interesting parts. I brought my two boys (8&10) and they were fine. Lots of deer so look out for them. You can get fairly close.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I posted pictures of the Underwood Cemetery. The only two stones I could read were from the Underwood family. I believe Illinois became a state in late 1818, so the one person named on the stone lived there before then. Which was only 46years after US was invaded by the first immigrants, haha.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

This is a long trail that runs the perimeter of the nature preserve. I thought I would hike half way then camp at one of the backpacking sights, but there is a permission slip that has to be pre qualified in order to do this. The nature preserve is a great place, a few ponds, fire watch tower, tent camping, RV camping, trails, river and lots of deer. This is only a few of the things this place offers. Was a good hike but wished I didn't have my 50lb backpack the entire 11 miles. Will be back soon, actually thinking of going back this next weekend. Also good place to play my Native American flute.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Great place learn the ropes of backpacking. Multiple stream crossings and small bridges. Largely flat and easy, though some terrain can get pretty technical, especially when muddy. Trails are well marked, though may require some detours or bushwhacking due to fallen trees, washed out bridges, or high waters.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This is a great trail for the area! Once a year, the KRR running club runs the backpack trail and has a party afterwards. What a great time. The map looks a little funny on here, as the trail is a loop. There is a campsite part way into the trail that folks can reserve and hike out to (I think scout troops do this every so often). The trail really isn't long enough to warrant camping mid-way through.

Rules are attached as a link. They say there's a fee now, which is odd. Note that only a few miles of the backpack trail are exclusively the backpack trail . . . so if you get caught without a permit . . . just be mindful of where you are.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Nice trails. Good cover from trees while hiking near the vermillion river. Some primitive camp spots out in the trees that are fairly secluded. Some of the trails are steep in spots but not for long runs. Great beginner course for someone wanting to get into backpacking. Plenty of places to filter water. The river is nice to just jump into during the heat of summer. Nice option for central Illinois.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nice lake. Decent trails.

4 months ago

8 months ago

10 months ago

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Monday, October 17, 2016

recorded Forest Glen - West Loop

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Monday, August 17, 2015