Show Connector Trails
This trail is located close to or on open water, wetlands, or floodplain. Please use caution and be alert for water near or on the trail. Be alert for flooding and swiftly moving water. Check with your local trail manager for more information on closures during periods of high water.
The Hennepin Canal Parkway Visitor Center is located just outside the QC Region, near Sheffield, Illinois (one mile south of I-80, just west of Route 40). East or westbound travelers on I-80 should take Exit 45, turn right (south) on Route 40. Then almost immediately cross the Canal and in about 1 mile is the brown sign directing them to the Parkway Visitors Center. Turn right (west) and proceed to the Center. For more info, call 815-454-2328.
This section of the trail has nine parking areas with trail access. See the map for their specific locations.
The Hennepin Canal Parkway Trail follows an old towpath along this historic canal, which opened in 1907 as a link between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The canal was abandoned when railroads made carrying goods by canal obsolete. The canal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire parkway spans across five counties in Illinois with its western terminus in the Quad Cities Region in Rock Island and Henry Counties. The Hennepin Canal provides a wide variety of recreational activities including fishing, boating, picnicking, canoeing, walking horseback riding, bicycling, camping, and snowmobiling.
Features of note in this section of the trail:
- Bridge 24 - Original iron truss bridge
- Aquaduct 5 - Mud Creek
- Aqueduct 6 - Spring Creek
- Bridge 23 - primitive camping on south bank (no equestrian camping)
- Lock 23 / Bridge 26 - primitive camping just west of the parking lot (no equestrian camping)
- Lock 24
Portions of the trail must be shared by walkers, cyclists, and equestrians where the towpath is located on only one side of the canal around the aqueducts. Generally, there is grass for equestrian use on the opposite side of the canal from the paved surface. The grassy side can be used by cyclists and hikers, but equestrians have the right-of-way.
Sections of the Hennepin Canal Parkway Trail in this region are also part of the American Discovery Trail (ADT) and the Grand Illinois Trail (GIT). The American Discovery Trail traverses the U.S., coast to coast, from California to Delaware for more than 6,800 miles across 15 states. As it loops more than 500 miles between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, the entire Grand Illinois Trail joins together existing and proposed state and local trails to create the state’s longest continuous trail. It hugs historic canals, crosses unglaciated hills, parallels the Rock and Fox Rivers, and includes one of America’s first rail-trails.
The Rock River Trail is a system of recreational trails on and along the Rock River that goes through 11 counties in Wisconsin and Illinois. This QC Trails featured trail is part of that network. The Rock River Trail was established in 2010 to promote recreational use and appreciation of all 320 miles of the Rock River. Visit the trail online to learn more about how to hike, bike, paddle, horseback ride, drive, fly, or appreciate history, art, or chocolate along the trail!
Visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Hennepin Canal State Trail online for more information or contact: