The River-to-River Trail Society has an official online guide to the entire River-to-River Trail.  The Trail Guide is now available to all without charge on the Society’s website at, simply by going to the site and then clicking on “Trail Information.” Users will have the option of downloading and printing either the entire guidebook, or only those pages covering a particular section of the trail in which they are interested.  In addition, users may also download the guide to their smart devices, because the guide is fully hyper-linked for easy navigation. The Trail Guide is intended for both hikers and horsemen, and should prove essential reading to both alike.

The River-to-River Trail stretches 157 miles across Southern Illinois, from Elizabethtown on the Ohio River to Grand Tower on the Mississippi. Following a three year effort to generate updated and accurate maps, and a 2017 re-marking of the entire route, the River-to-River Trail has become one of the premier long distance hiking and equestrian trails in the Midwest, and will now provide an essential boost to outdoor recreation and tourism in Southern Illinois. The new guidebook is being issued by the Society as a part of the same project, and contains maps of up-to-the-minute accuracy.

This is the fifth edition of the Trail Guide, and is the first to be offered free online. It is also the first revision of the guidebook since 2011. The online format provides the Society with the means to keep the Trail Guide constantly up to date, as changes are made in the route of the Trail or new information becomes necessary or available. The 140 pages of the guidebook contain seventeen chapters detailing each section of the Trail, including the historic eastern section beginning at Battery Rock, as well as chapters on trail safety, equestrian use of the trail, and use of online hiking maps. The maps of all sections of the Trail have been brought up-to-date and checked for accuracy. The information on points of interest near the Trail has been greatly expanded. New to the guidebook are charts showing mileage and changes in elevation along the Trail.  The guidebook is copiously illustrated with maps and photographs throughout.

Society Vice President William Gilmour of Metropolis, Illinois is the author of the new edition, with assistance from several other members of the Society. Shawn Gossman, of, contributed a chapter on trail safety and Keith Kibler, of the Shawnee Trail Conservancy, contributed a separate chapter on riding the trail on horseback. The Society is grateful to the staff of the Shawnee National Forest for their assistance with the maps, and to our advertisers for permitting the Trail Guide to be offered in a format that makes it free to all.

The River To River Tail is one of many wonderful adventures in Shawnee Forest Country.  Discover more at or call 1-800-C-IT-HERE.


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