3 miles
800 ft
-632 ft
577 ft
High Point

Kinkaid Lake Trail Details

  • Riding Area
    Carbondale, Illinois
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Season
    All year, best in Fall & Spring
  • TTFs on Trail
    Log Ride
  • Global Ranking
    #10942 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    5 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Manager
    Forest Service

This is without a doubt, one of the best bike trails in Southern Illinois and one of the most accessible from Carbondale. The trail leaves from the dam parking area and travels west along the southern shore of Lake Kinkaid. Although there is not much overall elevation change, you are consistently climbing and descending, never traveling too far from the lake. The exposure from the lake allows it to dry out relatively quickly and provides a nice breeze during warmer months. The folliage is also much less dense than some of the nearby trails. Although this is a multi-use trail and is technically open to horse-back, though I have never seen one on this trail. Fortunately it is quite difficult for horses to access, which has protected it from the abuse so many trails in the region have suffered.

The trail is mostly bench cut with plenty of challenging rocky sections, a rock-bottom creek crossing (usually dry), and a few technical trail features. There is one short mandatory hike-a-bike section early on. The first few miles are the more technical with fast, flowy terrain predominantly on the second half. The entire trail is marked by short and fast descents followed by short, punchy climbs. Turning right on the logging road at the end of the trail will take you to a scenic peninsula with picnic tables and boat docks. During Summer months, this is a good opportunity to jump in and cool off. As an out and back, this clocks in around 7 or 8 miles, but feels like a lot further.

Access Info

To access the trail, take Spillway Road and park at the gravel lot by the gate, just before the road curves right and ends in a parking lot. Ride past the gate and up the short hill to the lake. When the road curves right at the top of the hill, continue straight, through the gap in the concrete dividers to stay on the shore line. Follow this trail for approximately 3 miles until you reach the logging road. Turn around here or continue right to the peninsula. The Buttermilk Hill Trail across the road continues straight and is open to biking. However, Buttermilk is currently in need of serious rehabilitation.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Kinkaid Lake Trail bike trail
  • Altitude change
    168 ft
  • Altitude min
    366 ft
  • Altitude start
    369 ft
  • Altitude end
    537 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    1 miles
  • Distance down
    1 miles
  • Distance flat
    1,494 ft
  • view trail stats
Avg: 5 (1 votes)

view (0)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction

Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.

  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Ridden Direction

The intendid direction a trail should be ridden.

  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction

Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed or Major Issue / Red

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • Gate Gate
  • Camping Camping
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Other Other
      Directions to kinkaid-lake-trail trailhead (37.775320, -89.453970)
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