This 3-mile lollipop loop samples several of the trails in Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area. Begin at the Singing Bird Trailhead and follow the well-marked Sauk Trail east, rolling through the forested glacial moraine near the park road before turning north and joining the Fox Trail. This route’s 1.5-mile clockwise loop begins at mile 0.75, descending to the lakeshore for a quarter-mile out-and-back along the dam. If it’s camping season (May-November), refuel at the restaurant or park store on the lake’s west side before looping east. Look left for farmland views as the trail turns south and joins the road near the Prophet’s Picnic Area. Merge back onto the trail before closing the loop and retracing the final 0.75 mile to the trailhead.
For a longer hike, hikers can combine the road and extended trail system to circle Johnson Lake on an 8-mile endeavor. After the hike, consider a side-trip to the park’s main attraction: the largest round barn in Illinois.
-Mapped by Ted Villaire