The Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Springfield, Illinois is a living memorial to America’s 16th President. Lincoln loved his solitary nature walks around his hometown of Springfield. While we will never know if this Lincoln ever traversed this piece of ground in particular, the park strives to keep the garden as natural as the ones he strolled in his brief lifetime.
The Gardens are located next to the Ostermeier Prairie Center. The center is a good starting point for your visit and offers trail maps. The trails are interwinding and circular, so it is fairly easy to disorient oneself.
When the land was purchased for the park in 1935, there were only twelve trees on the plot, The curators were responsible for creating the woodscape and were essentially starting from scratch. Sugar-Maple, Redbud, Dogwood, and White Oak (the state tree of Illinois) were planted. Some Bur Oak was also planted due to its fire-resistant qualities.
Most of the trails are unpaved but covered with impacted gravel or woodchips. Since a lot of the land is a marshy wetland the trail has many wooden bridges many are intricately crafted.
The Park is located in Southwest Springfield, Illinois on the banks of Lake Springfield. The Trails are open year-round and there is no admission charge.
Pros: Flat, circular trails in which you can easily vary the distance, nice views of the lake, lagoons, and marshes.
Cons: Not too many. Flat trails may be less challenging to more experienced Hiker/Walker. The abundant wetland could mean a lot of mosquitos, but the upside is that the wetlands also means a lot of birds and woodland creatures.