Horseshoe Lake - Walker's Island Trail

easy 63 reviews

Horseshoe Lake - Walker's Island Trail is a 3.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Granite City, Illinois that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 3.7 miles Elevation Gain: 32 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly




mountain biking

paddle sports



bird watching





wild flowers


bridge out



over grown

washed out

Part of Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County, IL. Trail is on an island that is connected by a two lane road. Flat trail through fields and woods following the lake around the island. Island is open to hunting in the fall. Trail is well mowed path through the timber and along the fields of the island. Some places get a little muddy and there are a few bridges out in the campground that can be easily gone around.

5 months ago

This is one of the most frustrating hikes I've taken. I photograph at Horseshoe Lake a lot, but there are large portions of the lake that are difficult to access without a boat. When I saw this hiking trail along the shoreline of the island in the lake called "Walker's Island" I thought this would be great. I could possibly get views of the lake that I wouldn't normally have access to. Unfortunately, though the trail does hug the coastline, there are very few views of the lake itself. It is mainly a woodland hike. The lake is mere feet away but obscured by dense foliage. There aren't even animal trails down to the water. Maybe I'll try again in the winter. The north and the start of the south part of the path is well-maintained, but as the path goes towards the southern tip of the island, it becomes more overgrown and does not seem to be as well-maintained. At some points, I was almost bush-wacking. So some parts of the trail should be considered moderate for this reason otherwise, this is an easy walk. There is a path that cuts across the island through the fields that can be used as a short cut.

9 months ago

Pretty muddy, overgrown and full of bugs in late April.

10 months ago

This was a pretty flat walk. For the first half of the loop the trail was grassy and well maintained. Once we went over a little rocky access road and by a planted field, the path was too muddy to continue on. I would love to come back in the winter, when the lake would be more viewable and the ground less muddy.

11 months ago

Mon Jan 07 2019

Very flat, kinda boring. I wish there were more views of the lake. Also don’t go alone, I didn’t feel completely safe. Extremely muddy patches

Thu Nov 22 2018

It’s flat and basic, but that’s not necessarily bad. The corn has been harvested so I imagine the views are nicer now that you can see a little more skyline. It was a bit tricky to find the trailhead. Pull into the park and take the road to the left, go across the levy and park at shelter 3. The road is a loop where you park and you want to go to the opposite side of the parking where they’ve mowed a wide patch of path. Keep walking ~0.2 mi and you’ll see a sign marking the trail. There are two loops. The first loop (~1 mi, I didn’t actually check) you’ll end up where you parked, but shortly before that you’ll see the second loop head off to the right. Today the second loop was SO muddy 1/2 mi in and at one point the whole path was water. I was with my short legged dog who was already getting too messy so we had to turn around. It was still a nice day and an easy walk outside with decent views and a faint sighting of the downtown STL skyline.

Sat Oct 27 2018

Apparently there are time restrictions. 9am we showed up and a sign prevented us getting to path until 12:30. Not publicized anywhere.

Tue Oct 02 2018

Nice park & a nice trail but due to the cockleburs on the ground, not the best place for pets.

Wed Jun 13 2018

Mediocrity. Flat marshlands. The herons are nice to look at and the lake view is stunning but the trail itself is average at best.

Sat Aug 05 2017

The lake is beautiful. I parked on the wrong side of the lake. I thought I could walk all around the lake. At 4 miles, I realized I had to turn back around. It took me 8 miles to get back to my car. So do not make the mistake I made. Trails (if there is one) are not clearly marked. Be careful to NOT take the bike trail. It will NOT loop you around the lake.

Sun Apr 16 2017

Nice scenery and tons of wildlife!

Sun Nov 27 2016

it is a great hike for short hikes, it is also nearby so that is a plus. I wish I had a good hiking partner to share in the fun.

Tue Oct 25 2016

Not much here. Cool if you like farm fields and swamps I guess.

Tue Jul 26 2016

The park received funding from a donor and reopened.

Mon Apr 25 2016

Lots of fun, but the park lost funding and closed.

Thu Apr 21 2016

This park is closing down. Sad to see it go, it was a close hike for me.

Fri Apr 08 2016

Pretty nice walk!

Sat Mar 19 2016

first time on this trail. I'll come back. good trail to break in my new hiking boots

Sat Mar 19 2016

Wide trail, well maintained. Follows some farmland which is less than desirable. But beautiful lake and birds...birds definitely don't disappoint.

Sun Oct 18 2015

Easy, wide, grassy, flat. The loop is 3.9 miles. We walked a gravel road interior to the loop that leads to campsites to increase our distance. Not challenging but pleasant and close to home. My geriatric dog had no problems. This trail would be easy for smaller children. I'll be back with grandbabies in a double jogging stroller - the trail is that well maintained and flat. Half or more of this trail is in full sun. For a big portion you have crop land on one side and Horseshoe Lake on the other side. There are some nice water views. If you look closely at one of my photos (the last one) you can see the St Louis arch above the trees. The trailhead has a small pavilion with some BBQ pits and picnic tables. This would make be a fun day for young families.

Thu Jun 11 2015

Easy flat trail. Can see the St. Louis Arch from the cornfield part of the tail.

Sun May 10 2015

Easy 3.5-4mi flat hike. Weird half way point cornfield route. Super close to home. If I don't feel like going too far and get a hike craving I'll come back!

Sat May 02 2015

my wife and I came out to camp. The sites are $8 a night and the camp area has toilets and a playground. The trail is flat, wide, and easy. It's been mostly dry this week and the ground is just a little squishy in a few places. The bridges that are reported washed out in other posts have been rebuilt. It's great for a quick getaway from the city.

Sat Apr 11 2015

Great trail and easy to find alternative routes when area's turn a bit marshy. In comparison to other trails I've been, it was not hard to find the route. That was a big help. The marshier area's of the trail tend to be toward the Southern end. The campsite roads and some secondary paths are good alternatives to re-route when the water gets high. North end high enough to generally avoid the mud issues.

Tue Jul 01 2014

We walked this path after a morning thunderstorm, and expected that the grass trail would be wet and muddy in places-it was. We saw several deer, birds, and frogs. We also saw a turtle and a giant snake skin (maybe 5' long?) hanging from a branch. Two bridges near the campground were washed out, which resulted in us walking along the road for the last mile of the hike.

Mon Apr 29 2013

Just completed the trail with my girlfriend. It was very flat and very easy. Taller grasses and very soft wet ground made the trail and annoyance without Gore-Tex. Saw very little wildlife but saw lots of deer tracks in the mud. The last mile of the trail is where it gets better for sights, but then toward the last half mile we had to go out to the road due to two walking bridges missing and the rest of the trail being flooded out. Seems like a nice area for a picnic, but I won't be back for the hiking.

Mon Apr 29 2013

This trail is mostly a flat grass trail. Half of the trail was through corn fields (no shade). I recommend not completing this trail right after a good rain shower. Very muddy. Plus toward the end of my hike there were two bridges that were out near the camp sites) and the last half mile was flooded. Recommend wearing water proof boots. There were a lot of birds and ducks and saw a couple of frogs for you nature lovers. I will not hike this trail again.

Fri May 18 2012

Excellent - flat/wide trail for the day hiker.

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