Trail Descriptions

Yellow Trail

Blue Bells

This trail is excellent for hikers who want to see and walk through great examples of both upland oak-hickory forest and bottomland forest with large silver maple and sycamore trees. Starting at the Sunken Garden, you will first experience the upland forest. This area of open grown oaks and hickories is great for woodpeckers. Keep your eye out for red-headed woodpeckers and the huge pileated woodpecker. Deer, wild turkey and other wildlife have also been seen along this part of the trail. During spring and fall, this area is also great for migrating song birds. If you keep walking you will come to the Death of the Last Centaur statue. Walk down the concrete steps into a bottomland forest to continue on the Yellow trail.

Blue Eyed Mary

Moving past the four white pillars and down the trail will lead you to the Sangamon River. Here the trail runs along the Sangamon and gives great views of the river, many opportunities for watchable wildlife, and a chance to experience large bottomland trees. The main trail continues along the river before heading back into the formal garden area through some coniferous trees and beside the Mansion’s reflecting pond.

There may be times of the year when the bottomland portion of this trail may be flooded. Please use caution.

Wanting to take a shorter hike? The trail has a shortcut that will lead you back to the Sunken Garden or the Meadow.

There is one section of this trail that shares the path with another trails, the Brown Trail. Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Blue Trail

The Blue Trail runs through some of the highest quality oak-hickory upland forest in central Illinois and has unique high vantage point views of the Sangamon and its surrounding bottomland forest. Beginning at the Lost Garden Parking lot, follow the main trail as it makes its way toward the Sangamon River.

Sangamon River from the bluffs

On the way to the river take notice of the oak/hickory forest surrounding the trail and keep an eye out for forest flowers. During spring time, many species of spring ephemeral flowers can be seen including mayapple and Virginia bluebells.

May Apples

As you reach the river and hike along, watch out for wildlife, including great-blue herons and beavers. From the bluffs, migrating species of birds, including many warblers and tanager species, can be seen flying in the tree tops during spring. As the river meanders out of view, the trail continues along the bluff and overlooks bottomland forest until the trail eventually shares its path with the Red Trail. After separating from the Red Trail, the Blue Trail continues back toward the Lost Garden Parking lot. On the way, keep an eye out for barred owls and white-tailed deer.

There are two sections of this trail that share the path with other trails, the Red and Green Trail.Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Red Trail

An Oak Hickory Forest

Expect to see views of the Sangamon River, forest containing oak, hickory and maple trees and one of the oldest prairie restorations in the state. From the Buck Schroth Trail parking lot, keep right as you begin your hike on the Red Trail at Allerton Park. Interpretive signs dot your path as you make your way through secondary forests. Here you will encounter and learn about oak-hickory forest and sugar maples as you wind your way along and away from the Sangamon River. During springtime, keep an eye out for spring ephemeral flowers including Virginia Bluebells and Springbeauty.

Compass Plant in the Prairie

At the second intersection, keep left as the Blue and Red trail become a single trail for a short time. Keeping left again, continue along and keep your eye out for white-tailed deer and woodcocks. As you continue hiking, the forest opens up into a restored demonstration prairie, one of the oldest in Illinois. Big bluestem and Indian grass sway in the breeze and Compass plant flowers bloom during the summer here. During spring, ringed-neck pheasants can be heard calling and even seen flying and taking cover deeper in the prairie. Continuing along the main trail will take you back to where you started.

Wanting to take a shorter hike? The trail has a shortcut that may be taken without missing out on views of the Sangamon River or the demonstration prairie.

Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Purple Trail

Mixed Species Secondary Forest

The Sun Singer Statue

The shortest of Allerton Natural Areas, this trail starts and ends with nice vantage points of the Sun Singer statue. The surrounding forest is an early successional forest composed of honey locust, elms, oaks and hickories. The small opening in the forest along this trail was once the site of a tower similar to the one in the Fu Dog Garden.

This trail crosses the Brown Trail. Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Green Trail


River views, good examples of oak/hickory uplands forest and bottomlands forest, and a mysterious lost garden will greet you on the Green Trail. Starting at the Lost Garden, be sure to take time to walk down (and then back up as it is one way) the rows of trees that was once the Lost Garden. A large concrete pad, once the foundation for a tea house, pillars, a short wall and old plantings tell a story of what was once here. After imagining Allerton’s Lost Garden, take the trail that is only the Green Trail as it goes back and forth across Willow Branch Creek.

Willow Branch Creek in the Spring

The trail crosses bottomland and upland forest and tree species change with elevation. Take notice of the oak-hickory dominance in the uplands and silver maple and scattered large bur oaks in the bottomlands. As you approach the Sangamon River, keep an eye out for white-tailed deer and raccoons feeding in the river beds.

Wanting to take a shorter hike? The trail has a shortcut, please see map.

There is one section of this trail that shares the path with another trail, the Blue Trail. Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Orange Trail

Trail near Fu Dog Garden

The Orange Trail leads you through early successional forest, bottomland forest, past formal gardens and even the old Goldfish pond. From the southeast corner of the main parking lot, the trail winds its way down toward the Sangamon River. Here the trail separates into two paths. One short path takes you below the reflecting pond dam toward the Meadow. The other path continues on the main trail. Bottomland forest can be seen along this section of the trail.

Plants around the Goldfish Pond

You might notice the differences in age and species of trees on either side of the trail. In view of the Levee Road, the trail heads up a hill and at the crest you will find the Goldfish pond. Continuing on, the trail opens up on the Fu Dog Garden and then the Vine Walk.

Please use map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of the Allerton Park Natural Areas.

Brown Trail

Mature Bottomland Forest

The longest trail in the park, the Brown Trail traverses through bottomland forest containing trees over five feet in diameter, along the Sangamon River and through a small section of upland forest. This trail begins at the Death of the Last Centaur parking and offers a wonderful approach to the Centaur statue. Be sure to also notice the four pillars topped with urns within the open oak-hickory forest. Following the Brown Trail down a slope, the trail then continues along a point of transition between an upland oak/hickory forest on one side and on the other, a bottomland forest. Here spring flowers such as Virginia bluebells carpet the forest floor. Following the Brown Trail, after it intersects with the Purple Trail, you may notice trees of great size and diameter.

Death of the Land Centaur Statue

Ash, bur oaks and sycamores represent an assemblage of the impressively sized tree species, some reaching up to five feet in diameter. Views of the Sangamon River and the watchable wildlife are also plentiful as you continue along the trail. Keep an eye out for great-blue herons, wood ducks, and beavers. This area is also great for migrating song birds during the spring.

There may be times of the year when the bottomland portion of this trail may be flooded. Please use caution.

There is one section of this trail that shares the path with another trail, the Yellow Trail. Be sure to use the map placards and map brochures to find your way so you do not miss out on this unique part of Allerton Park Natural Areas