River Bend

This beautiful 280-acre site contains approximately 130-acres of clear water in two lakes, one of which is the county's largest lake. The area also includes 2.5 miles of forest along the Sangamon River as well as a 1-mile nature trail, and a 1.2-mile multi-use trail. Horseback riding is not allowed on the trails.


River Bend opens at 7 AM year-around, weather permitting. Closing times vary:

Time of Year Closing Time
Second Sunday in March 7:00 PM
First Saturday in April 9:00 PM
First Sunday after Labor Day in September 7:00 PM
First Sunday in November 5:00 PM

Interesting Facts

This preserve was once a sand and gravel mine. As part of its restoration, ponds called wetland bioswales were constructed with grass buffers to catch silt and pollutants from stormwater runoff. More than 700 tons of topsoil were brought in to help stabilize user areas, reduce erosion, and allow more than 400 native trees and shrubs to be planted. Additionally, all roads and parking lots, along with the multi-use trail, were built with recycled paving material.

Activities Include:



9-11 Memorial

Possibility Pier


9-11 Memorial Woodland

Located on the west side of the preserve, this woodland was established by the citizens of Champaign County as a lasting tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The first tree was planted on September 11, 2002, and on the fifth anniversary an interpretive sign officially naming the area was unveiled.

Possibility Pier

Possibility Pier, designed for universal accessibility, allows a seated person to fish through railing slots and use tackle tables at just the right height. Part of the pier is even under roof to keep the summer sun at bay, and a picnic table allows for lunch on the water! Artificial aquatic weeds strung from the bottom of the pier attract fish, and specially-constructed habitat structures on the bottom do the same. The result is the best fishing opportunity in the area for those without a boat.

Plug Into River Bend

All CCFPD rules and ordinances are in effect. Be especially aware that (1) Dogs must always be leashed; (2) Alcohol, camping and hunting are prohibited; and (3) Watercraft power is limited to oar, paddle, or electric trolling motors. Buoy lines should not be crossed, moved or used for anchoring. Areas marked as private property do not belong to the Forest Preserve District, and crossing into them is trespassing and against the law.

River Bend Virtual Tour

This video was created for a collaborative project with mahometdaily.com to help patrons feel connected to nature during Covid-19, a time when many people are staying home and not able to visit the forest preserves.

Help Preserve Water Quality

Invasive Species such as Zebra Mussel, Asian Carp, and Eurasian Watermilfoil have invaded Illinois at a very large cost. These small pieces of live plant material or young animals can be carried inside boat motors, livewells or trailers for several days, and be inadvertently deposited into new areas. Once deposited, they adapt quickly and can aggressively overtake native populations of plants and animals and deplete our natural resources.

Protect Water and Wildlife

  • Fishing with minnows or live bait is prohibited; worms are allowed.
  • Boats with gasoline engines mounted on them, whether the engine is in use or not, are prohibited. Please remove motors prior to launching.
  • Boats with built-in livewells are prohibited.
  • Boaters are requested not to launch any boat that has been in the Illinois River, Wabash River, or Great Lakes within five days prior to your visit to River Bend.
  • Before placing boats in the lake, boaters are requested to check boats, trailers, trolling motors, etc. to make sure no plant matter is clinging to them.

Your efforts in preserving the quality of this special facility are greatly appreciated.

Help Support Our Foundation

The Foundation supports the facilities, programs, services, goals and mission of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District. Help us make an environment to encourage cultural, historical and environment opportunities for all.