With over 700 contiguous acres of diverse native habitats and scenic bluffs, the Merwin Preserve is the flagship of the ParkLands preserve system and a noted hotspot for hikers, birdwatchers, plant enthusiasts, and researchers alike.


  • 713 acres spanning both sides of the river
  • Over 5 miles of hiking trails
  • 2 miles of river frontage
  • 3 parking lots, 10 total access points
  • Canoe launch
  • Self-guided hike: detailed habitat descriptions on the trail map with corresponding markers along the north hiking loop


Located 2 miles east of Lake Bloomington and 5 miles west of Lexington, the Merwin Preserve is just 15 minutes from Bloomington/Normal and easily accessible from several major roadways. Parking lots are available on the west (1925E), north (2650N), and south (PJ Keller Highway) borders. PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON 1925E. IF THE WEST LOT IS FULL PLEASE USE THE NORTH LOT. Several smaller trailheads are marked along the perimeter of the preserve.


Activities & Rules

For a full list of rules and more information on our no dog policy click below.