Route: River to River Trail (IL)

Illinois, US
160 mi
Vertical Gain
14,000 ft

From Wikipedia:

The River to River Trail is a 160 mile (256 km)-long hiking trail that serves Shawnee National Forest in far southern Illinois. The trail is used by both equestrians and hikers. About half is on off road trails. Its eastern terminus has historically been Battery Rock, overlooking the Ohio River but now generally Elizabethtown, Illinois is used as the eastern terminus. The western terminus is in Grand Tower, Illinois, at the Mississippi River. Sections of the River to River Trail form part of the Southern Section of the American Discovery Trail. is the official source of information for the trail.


Hey All! I believe that I am supposed to state my intentions at an FKT attempt? So myself and 3-5 others are going to attempt a new Unsupported FKT on the R2R Starting May 23 or 24th, 2018.

Allison Kallo and I will start the R2R on 6/28, westbound, attempting to establish the mixed-gender team FKT.

User Picture
Profile picture for user LynnzRunz

Hello All, I am planning a supported FKT for the R2R in late March. I have tried to find the route on the previous site as directed, but did not have any luck. Am I correct that the route posted here ( would not count because it is not the original trail? I am used to running long distances, but I am new to this FKT stuff, so any help is much appreciated. Thank you!

Glad you are planning on giving it a go in March!

Most people consider Elizabethtown to Grand Tower (or vise-versa) to be the 'route'. One could also use Cave-in-rock as a terminal point instead of Elizabethtown, which would be the 'old' route. There are trails to both terminus.

I went from from Elizabethtown to Grand Tower both times.

Also there not much interest in R-2-R trail, so I don't think anyone is real serious as long as you define what you did.

See my trip reports on the old website:

Officially stating my intentions to complete an unsupported FKT of my home trail in early April, 2021. I've been training for the past year and will aim to come in under Matt Halfar's 4d and 5ms, following the Elizabeth to Grand Tower Route. 

I'll be using maps and mileages provided by Bob of the River to River Society which pegs the official mileage as 157.7mi, but will be tracking total miles via GPS. 

This trip will be half physical challenge and half spiritual journey, so I'm very excited and looking forward to sharing the trip in the near future!

Trip was a success! Report submitted and published yesterday.

Hello fellow hikers, i am officially stating my intent to attempt the fkr for the river to river trail in shawnee national forest 

Myself and a fellow hiker will be attempting the fkr for the river to river trail, shawnee national forest beginning may 20

User Picture
Profile picture for user LynnzRunz

Hello all, 

I am attempting a self-supported FKT of the River to River Trail starting March 26, 2022. Hoping for clear skies! Happy trails to you.

Attempting the unsupported FKT with my friend, Will Ortmayer, tomorrow. Hopefully more info to come after the run!

Hey! Attempting the unsupported FKT with my friend Connor Chapdelaine tomorrow. 

User Picture
Profile picture for user JackrabbitHikes

Hello, I will be attempting the supported record heading Westbound out of Elizabethtown. The plan is to begin 7 am on Saturday March 23rd. This will be my second FKT attempt on this route, the last attempt being the unsupported route with 'austinaugs' above. Looking forward to getting out into the woods again.

I completed the FKT on Monday March 25th after 55 hours and 35 minutes. I will be submitting my GPS data today. Awesome route. Lots of fun. Lots of highs and lows. Nighthiking the more residential areas was quite scary. I didn't like walking through someones private driveway at 3:30am under headlamp in rural America. Learned a lot about myself and these multi-day efforts. My first FKT. Woohoo!

Congratulations!!! That is a great time for the R2R! I’m trying unsupported tomorrow, super nervous and excited! It is indeed an awesome route! Way to go!!!

User Picture
Profile picture for user LynnzRunz

I am attempting an unsupported FKT on the R2R trail starting April 4, 2024 at around 6am. I’ve been powerlifting for a year and a half to get strong enough to carry enough gear for 160 miles! Here’s hoping all goes well and I can dip my toe in the Mississippi! No female unsupported fkt yet, so I just have to finish!

Wooohoo!! Go Lynz!!! You're a veteran of the River to River Trail, no doubt about it. Good luck and don't be tempted by that little restaurant in Eddyville!!! Fingers crossed for good weather and minimal bugs - you got this shit!!!