Illinois National Parks


The National Parks of Illinois highlight some of America's most beloved Presidents and cities. Come explore the "Land of Lincoln" and #FindYourPark in Illinois.

Illinois National Parks



Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area

Designated in 2008, the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area works alongside the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and is the only Heritage Site named after a United States President. The Heritage Area encompasses 43 counties in Illinois and works with local groups, agencies, organizations, and individuals to help share the life of Abraham Lincoln and his influence on Central Illinois. It includes the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, the Lincoln Heritage Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and many other points of interest. Discover more about the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area on their official site here.

Chicago Portage National Historic Site

The Chicago Portage describes a natural divide between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River that has been used for centuries by Native Americans, early explorers, and European settlers. It has been called one of the most important travel routes of the mid-continent and has served an important role in the development of the American interior. Part of the site - the Illinois and Michigan Canal - was designated America's first National Heritage Corridor.

While it still serves an important economic role to the area, visitors today can enjoy several activities like hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, or exploring several miles of trail system. For a list of activities and events, visit their website here.

Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor - IL and MI

The Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor (I & M Canal for short) was America's first National Heritage Corridor and was designated in 1984. The canal itself is 96 miles long, and it opened in 1848. The hand-dug canal connected mid-continent cities to New York Harbor and New Orleans. The canal was crucial for shipping goods throughout the Midwest and allowed Chicago to boom economically.

While the canal officially closed to commerce in 1933, it still serves its communities as a transportation route and a recreational area. Several points of interest can be found along the corridor, like Navy Pier in Chicago, the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and the I&M Canal Visitor Center and Boat. If you like to participate in the National Park Passport program, several stamps can be found along the corridor at various visitor centers and sites. Be sure to visit the I&M Canal website for locations and more information.

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail - ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA

The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail marks the historic journey by Merriweather Lewis and William Clark along 4,900 miles of wilderness from Pennsylvania all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. The Trail connects 16 states - Pennsylvania,Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon - and includes museums, landmarks, exhibits, and Visitor Centers along the route. For a complete list of markers and things to see and do, click here.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site - Springfield, IL

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois encompasses a 4-square block that includes Abraham Lincoln's home on the corner of Eighth and Jackson streets, and other historical sites and landmarks that help tell the story of America's sixteenth President. Tours of the home are free, but tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited. Several rooms in the house are available to see on the tour including Formal Parlor, Dining Room, Abraham Lincoln's Bedroom, and the Kitchen.

In addition to the Lincoln Home, there are several other period homes to visit in the 'neighborhood,' along with an heirloom garden, The Jameson Jenkins lot, one of the sites of the Underground Railroad, and other exhibits. In the Visitor Center, guests can enjoy a short film about Lincoln, and at various times throughout the warmer months, guests can enjoy a living history demonstration. The Visitor Center is open all year, as are tours of the home.

Other nearby sites of note are Lincoln's Tomb, where he along with his wife Mary and three of their children are buried (a National Historic Site), and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum & Library which is only a few blocks away. The Lincoln Home was designated a National Historic Site in 1971.

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail - IL, IA, NE, UT, WY

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail marks the path taken by the Mormon Pioneers led by Brigham Young on their journey from Illinois to Utah, beginning in 1846. On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young arrived in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah to begin a new life with his fellow Mormons.

The 1,300 mile route begins in Nauvoo, Illinois, and moves through the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Modern-Day auto routes with maps are available with many sites along the way for guests to visit. The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail was made part of the National Trails System on November 10, 1978.

Pullman National Monument - Chicago, IL

Pullman National Monument is the first National Park Service unit in Chicago, and it tells the story of George Pullman of sleeper car fame and the planned industrial community he founded to facilitate his business. The National Monument protects several buildings in Chicago's Pullman district such as the Pullman Palace Car Works factory and administration building, the Hotel Florence, Arcade Park, and the Greenstone Church. Uniquely ornate industrial buildings are the hallmark of Pullman, and everything was planned, including the large lake which served as both something pretty to look at, but also a cooling reservoir for the factory's steam engine.

The site is also home to The National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. The purpose of the Museum is to "promote, honor and celebrate the legacy of A. Philip Randolph, Pullman Porters, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and contributions made by African-Americans to America’s labor movement; with a significant focus on the African American Railroad Employee."  Pullman was the largest employer of African Americans in the United States at the time, and the Porters working for Pullman made up forty percent of their workforce. A. Philip Randolph was a labor organizer and founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) which was the first African-American-led labor organization to receive a charter from the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

The site is open all year except for major holidays. Stop by the Visitor Center to grab a self-guided tour map before you start exploring, or sign up for a Ranger-Guided tour. Pullman National Monument was designated by President Barack Obama on February 19, 2015.

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site

The Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site in Dixon, Illinois, preserves the two-story home of America's 40th President Ronald Reagan, who lived there from 1920 to 1924. The home is decorated with period furniture and has been restored to its original 1920 appearance. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to visitors generally from 10 a.m - 4 p.m. An interpretive Visitor Center sits next door to the home. This National Historic Site was established in 2002.

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail - AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, MO, NC, OK, TN

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the forceful removal of the Cherokees from their homes in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. States participating the the Trail are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. More than 16,000 Cherokee were relocated between 1838 and 1839, and the trail documents their stories of suffering, illness, and death, but also preserves their routes and important sites along the Trail.