For a nature stroll in Central Illinois, you can't go wrong with the General Dacey Trail! This dog-friendly, multipurpose loop covers a little over 7 miles, meandering through a municipal park and along Lake Shelbyville. Frequented by walkers, runners, and cyclists, it is also a furrific spot for photography, birdwatching, and geocaching.
Named for retired military officer and engineer Major General Robert J. Dacey, the trail is accessible from several locations, with the most pawpular being Forest Park. You and Fido will find the trailhead just behind the Boy Scout cabin. If you'd like to eat something before setting off, there is a picnic pavilion in the park where you can do just that. There are also several benches along the route where you and your pup can pawse and appreciate your surroundings.
The first two 1-mile sections of the trail allow you and your pooch to explore the wooded area next to Lake Shelbyville. A third leg will lead you down to the Dam West Recreation Area, where an overlook offers unobstructed views of the water. Fitness equipment are also available here, if you're feeling extra energetic. After you're done taking photos of your pooch by the lake, continue along the trail, which will take you past the Lake Shelbyville visitor center before heading towards the direction of downtown Shelbyville. You'll then find yourselves walking along city streets as you make your way back to Forest Park.
Doggos are welcome to use the trail as long, as they remain leashed and are cleaned up after. As for human restrooms, these can be found at various points on the path, including the visitor center and Dam West Recreation Area. Be sure to bring lots of water, too; there may be no steep inclines, but you and Fido will still get a good workout on the General Dacey Trail!
Wear sunscreen and a hat, as some sections of the trail are out in the open.