List of Illinois State Parks w/links
Apple River Canyon State Park is near the Wisconsin border. This scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of Apple River. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. This circumstance accounts for the large number of fossil remains to be found near the surface here. Apple River Canyon State Park, Apple River, IL
Argyle Lake State Park has 1700 acres with a 93-acre lake. Known as a fisherman's delight, bass, bluegill, catfish etc. There is 5 miles of foot trails that provide unparalleled scenic enjoyment, and 12 trails, most are classified as difficult to very difficult, there also are more than 200 bird species that call Argyle Lake home. Argyle Lake State Park in Macomb, IL
Beaver Dam State Park is a beautiful 750-acre park located in rural Macoupin County, 7 miles southwest of Carlinville, IL. Beaver Dam lake was actually created by a beaver, although the beaver is virtually gone from this area, the park is named for a beaver dam that created the lake. Beaver Dam State Park contains a 59-acre lake, over the years the lake has been stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish and channel catfish.
Buffalo Rock State Park is a 298 acre park, located on a bluff which was once an island in the Illinois River. Titled "Effigy Tumuli" in tribute to the Native American burial grounds that inspired it, this unique "earth art" depicts five sculptures native to the Illinois River. The River Bluff Trail offers a walk high above the Illinois River with two observation decks with views of the Illinois River. Buffalo Rock State Park, Ottawa, IL
Cahokia Mounds State Park The park protects 2200 acres that focus on the site of a great ancient city that has the remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Monks Mound, with four terraces, covers 14 acres, rises 100 feet, and was topped by a massive 5,000 square-foot building another 50 feet high. As the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas, Monks Mound is a testament to the sophisticated engineering skills of these people. Presently the parks offers ongoing archaeological research. Cahokia Mounds State Park is located in Collinsville, Illinois.
Cave-In-Rock State Park has a 55-foot-wide cave that was carved out of the limestone rock by water thousands of years ago. Cave-In-Rock State Park is a 204 acre park. In addition to this cave, the park contains two established hiking trails of moderate difficulty, plus numerous unmarked trails for exploration of forests with inspiring view of the River. Cave-in-Rock State Park is located on the Ohio River just outside of Cave-In-Rock, IL
Chain O'Lakes State Park is a 793 acre state park and adjoining 3,230 acre conservation area that offers opportunities for boaters, fisherman and skiers. The park borders three natural lakes - Grass, Marie and Nippersink - and the Fox River that connects the other seven lakes Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead that make up the Chain. In addition, the park contains a 44-acre lake within its boundaries, has four trail systems, and an equestrian trail with three loops and a total length of 8 miles. Chain O'Lakes State Park is located only 4 miles south of the Illinois / Wisconsin border.
Delabar State Park is located on the Mississippi River about 1 1/2 miles north of Oquawka, IL. Delabar State Park's 89 acres is popular for anglers, hikers.
Dickson Mounds State Park with Dickson Mounds Museum which preserves over 10,000 years of history, includes burial grounds and artifacts, combine to educate and preserve 12,000 years of human experience in the Illinois River Valley. Dickson Mounds State Park is located between Lewistown, IL. and Havana, IL
Dixon Springs State Park is a 801 acre park located about 10 miles west of Golconda on Illinois. The park is on a giant block of rock which was dropped 200 feet along a fault line that extends across Pope County.
Ferne Clyffe State Park is 2430-acre park, with 16-acre lake, in the Shawnee Hills. Ferne Clyffe State Park is known as an outstanding natural scenic spot. Rock formations: two of the best-known sights are Hawks' Cave, a 150-foot-long shelter bluff, and a 100-foot-tall intermittent waterfall on the Big Rocky Hollow trail. Ferne Clyffe State Park is located just one mile south of Goreville Illinois.
NOTE: Several Forts in Illinois where once in the Illinois State Park system, many forts are no longer state parks, I am including these forts here, due to being very popular to visitors.
Fort Chartres Park was a French fortification first built in 1720 on the east bank of the Mississippi River in present-day Illinois. The fort's stone armory, which is considered the oldest building in the state of Illinois. The state park today hosts several large re-enactments at the fort of colonial-era civil and military life each summer. Due to lack of funding, the Fort may be shut down permanently on October 1, 2008, by the State of Illinois. Fort Chartres State Park is located in Prairie Du Rocher, IL.
Fort Creve Coeur Park in Creve Coeur IL was built in 1680. Fort Creve Coeur State Park is a 86- acre park, overlooking the Illinois River near Peoria, that commemorates French explorer Robert Rene Cavalier de LaSalle's presence.
Fort Defiance Park has been known since prehistoric times with archaeological evidence of warfare dating to the Mississippian era. Fort Defiance Park, formerly a State Park, is owned and maintained by the city of Cairo, IL.
Fort Kaskaskia State Park is a 200-acre park that commemorates the vanished frontier town of Old Kaskaskia. Fort Kaskaskia is situated on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Fort Kaskaskia construction began in 1759 and was never completed. Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site is located near the town of Ellis Grove, IL
Fort Massac State Park is Illinois first State Park. French soldiers built a wooden fort. Now this historic site is a replica of the 1802 American fort that was on site. Fort Massac State Park overlooks the mighty Ohio River in Southern Illinois. Archeological and historical excavations were conducted on the site from 1939-42. Fort Massac State Park is located in Metropolis, IL
Fox Ridge State Park covers 2064 acres and provides recreational oppurtunities for thousands each year. Fox Ridge State Park is located in central Illinois, eight miles south of Charleston IL.
Franklin Creek State Park located in Franklin Grove, IL This Natural Area is on 664 acres. Franklin Creek State Park contains a 198-acre nature preserve
Gebhard Woods State Park is situated along the I&M Canal State Trail. Gebhard Woods State Park is a 30 acre site, a great park for birdwatching with songbirds, mallards, wood ducks, green herons and great blue herons can be observed as they feed in the park and along the canal banks. Beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon and an occasional deer also call Gebhard Woods their home. The restored Nettle Creek stone aqueduct that was originally built to carry the canal over Nettle Creek adds not only to the parks beauty but to the rich history of the area. Gebhard Woods State Park is one of the state's most popular state parks. Gebhard Woods State Park is located in Morris IL,
Giant City State Park has the Giant City Nature Trail, home of the Giant City Streets formed 12,000 years ago by huge bluffs of sandstone. Giant City State Park was named for the unique impressions made by its massive sandstone structures. There is evidence of human habitation in this region from as early as 10,000 years ago. Giant City State Park is located near Carbondale Illinois.
Goose Lake Prairie State Park totals 2,537 acres, is the largest remnant of prairie left in Illinois. Tall Grass Nature Trail displays the largest stand of tall grass prairie remaining in Illinois. Goose Lake Prairie State Park is located near Morris, IL.
Hazlet State Park is located on the largest manmade lake in Illinois, Carlyle Lake. Hazlet State Park is located 3 miles north of Carlyle Illinois Route.
Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park is a 104.5-mile linear park which spans five counties (Rock Island, Bureau, Henry, Lee and Whiteside). The entire canal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An old tow path, along the canal's main line and feeder routs, provides a 155 mile path. Boating and fishing along the Hennepin for bluegill, crappie, walleye and bass is very popular. There are 48 miles along the main canal and over 25 miles along the Feeder. Gallop for horseback riding. The Hennepin Canal Parkway basically parallels I-80 in Bureau and Henry counties in west central Illinois.
Holten State Park is within sight of St. Louis Gateway Arch. The 1,125-acre Holton State Park features an 18-hole golf course, is great for fishing on it's two lakes - Whispering Willow Lake and Grand Marais Lake and offers numerous outdoor recreational activities. Frank Holten State Park is an urban site almost entirely surrounded by East St. Louis.
Horseshoe Lake State Park has 2,960 acres, that offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Horseshoe Lake has been inhabited by various American Indian groups, evidence of their activity dates back to 8000 B.C. Artifacts have also been found which fall into the Woodland period 1000 B.C.-1000 A.D. During this time the Mighty Metropolis known as Cahokia Mounds was built, there still remains an earthen platform mound inside the park boundaries. Horseshoe Lake contains channel catfish, bass, crappie, bluegill, and carp. There are four miles of hiking trails that wander through the natural area. Horseshoe Lake State Park is located in Granite City, part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.
Illini State Park is a 510-acre park bordered by the Great Falls of the Illinois River. The Army Corps of Engineers built a barge canal to bypass the rapids. The canal borders the park on the north, and visitors can watch as large barges pass by the park and through the Marseilles Locks. Fishing for crappie, bass, bluegill, catfish, carp, bullheads and many other species in the Illinois River is very popular. There are several scenic and historic hiking trails, and in winter an ice skating pool. Illini State Park is located south of the Illinois River from Marseilles, IL
Illinois Beach State Park is a 4,160-acre park, that has a full range of recreation opportunities along some of the most scenic beaches in the Midwest. Illinois Beach State Park stretches six and a half miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. Fishing is allowed along the beach area and there are several small inland fishing ponds, including Sand Pond, where a fishing pier for the disabled is available.
Illinois Caverns State Natural Area has more than 100 recorded caves. Illinois Caverns (which also has been known as Burksville Cave, Manmmoth cave of Illinois, Egyptian Cave and Eckert Cave) is the only cave that has been operated commercially in Illinois. Illinois Caverns contains an extensive array of spectacular cave formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, rimstones dams, flowsone, soda straws, and a underground stream meanders through the cave. The cave has an outstanding invertebrate fauna, including the largest number of cave-adapted animals known from any cave in Illinois. Illinois Caverns State Natural Area is located in southwestern Illinois about 35 miles south of St. Louis.
Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area sits astride a trail that led Native Americans from Lake Michigan to the confluence of the Mississippi and Rock rivers. centerpiece is a 58-acre lake that offers both fishing and boating,There is 1,365 acres of recreation opportunities, the centerpiece is a 58-acre lake that offers both fishing and boating, and Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area is believed to have contained one of the most concentrated and varied wildlife populations in the central part of North America. Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area is located 5 miles north of Kewanee, IL.
Jubilee College State Park is a 3,200-acre facility, located between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield. In 1839 Jubilee College was one of the earliest educational enterprises in Illinois, the college closed in 1862. In 1933 the college and grounds, consisting of 93 acres, were presented to the state of Illinois, and has been restored to its original appearance. The Department of Natural Resources increased the acreage to 3,200. Jubilee College State Park has natural features that include the topography, 160 species of birds, Jubilee Creek, a tributary to Kickapoo Creek, characterized by deep pools and fast riffles, Equestrian Facilities with twenty-five miles of horseback riding trails and approximately 1400 acres are available for hunting.
Kankakee River State Park consists of approximately 4,000 acres, and is where many people find unsurpassed recreational opportunities. Several prehistoric sites are documented within Kankakee River State Park. The most extensive village was "Rock Village" or "Little Rock Village" inside the present-day park near the mouth of Rock Creek. In 1830 it was the site of the last great Indian Council. A Marker on the west bank of Rock Creek Bridge commemorates the log cabin village of Rockville. It was begun in 1840. The Kankakee river is great for fishing smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye and northern pike. There are horseback riding trails that operate on a seasonal basis, you can even rent a horse at the park's riding stables. Kankakee River State Park has an extensive walking and hiking trail system that stretches for miles along both sides of the river. Kankakee River State Park is located 10 miles east of Wilmington, IL.
Kickapoo State Park has 2,842 acres along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River. There are twenty two deep water ponds, and 221 acres of water for boating and fishing. Archaeological excavations have provided evidence that Native Americans of the Woodland and Mississippian cultures between 500 and 1500 A.D. had a village on the Middle Fork River near the park. European settlers were drawn to the area by the presence of salt springs, which were discovered in 1819. There is miles of running and hiking trails, and Kickapoo State Recreation Area is located near Danville, IL
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area has a 40-acre lake, numerous multi-use and equestrian trails and Ice-fishing, sledding and cross-country skiing are popular attractions at Lake Le-Aqua-Na during the winter months. Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area is located six miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and three miles north of Lena, IL.
Lake Murphysboro State Park has 1,022-acres and Lake Murphysboro. Lake Murphysboro, built in 1950 by the Division of Fisheries. The 145-acre lake is a tributary of Indian Creek and has a watershed of approximately 4,500 acres, and thehas lakes 7.5 miles of shoreline. A 600-foot dam is located at the south end of the park. Lake Murphysboro has stocked with largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish. Some of the park's natural features include flowers: Yellow ladys slipper, showy, purple fringeless, twayblade, puttyroot, coralroot , ladies tresses and a variety of orchids. Lake Murphysboro State Park is located about one mile west of Murphysboro, IL.
Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park is the site of Abraham Lincoln's first home in Illinois, and a memorial commemorates the beginnings of Lincoln's life in Illinois. Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial is located in Mt. Zion, IL
Lincoln Trail State Park is located two miles south of Marshall, IL
Lowden State Park is a 273-acre park with a bluff graced with a majestic 50 foot statue of an American Indian gazing over the Rock River Valley. A tribute to all Native Americans. Lowden State Park also serves as a memorial to Gov. Frank O. Lowden, who established on the Rock River property, an artist colony, called "Eagles' Nest." The scenic Rock River flows through the park, and there is about four miles of good foot trails. Lowden State Park is located along the Rock River north of Oregon, IL
Matthiessen State Park is a paradise for those interested in geology, with beautiful coloring of the canyon walls and rocks with minerals, and Matthiessen State Park is a paradise for those interested in recreation, with five miles of well-marked, well-surfaced hiking trails. Hikers will have an unparalleled view of geological wonders as they travel through the park. Matthiessen State Park is located four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, IL
Mississippi Palisades State Park has trails that puts you in touch with the past, youll trace the footsteps of all those who came before you, some of whom came this way nearly a thousand years ago. Mississippi Palisades State Park is located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers, this 2,500-acre park is rich in American Indian history. Caves are evident and there are dangerous sink holes-limestone caves that go straight down. The gateway to seeing the parks impressive assortment of plant and animal life is its rugged 15-mile trail system. Fishing in the Mississippi River at Mississippi Palisades State Park is a very popular pastime as well. Mississippi Palisades State Park is located three miles north of Savanna, IL.
Moraine Hills State Park has 2,200 acres. Half of the park is composed of wetlands, lakes, and includes McHenry Dam. Lake Defiance, a 48-acre lake is in the center of the park, Pike Marsh, a 115-acre area in the southeast corner of the park, is home to many rare plants, and 120-acre region known as Leatherleaf Bog, consists of a floating mat of sphagnum moss and leatherleaf surrounded by a moat of water. Fishing is available on both Lake Defiance and on the Fox River. There are more than 10 miles of trails, for hikers, skiers and cyclists, with scenic and wildlife viewing opportunities. Moraine Hills State Park is located on the Fox River, 3 miles south of McHenry,IL
Moraine View State Recreation Area has 158-acre Dawson Lake with fishing pier, and there is a half-mile Tanglewood Self-Guiding Nature Trail that winds around the lake. Moraine View State Recreation Area also has developed facilities for hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, horseback riding and hunting. Moraine View State Recreation Area is located in LeRoy, IL
Morrison-Rockwood State Park is comprised of 1,164 acres AND Lake Carlton, a stream-fed reservoir, features an abundance of ducks and geese, and is considered a prime location for fishing. A three and one-half mile nature trail is marked for hikers. It offers many scenic views of the lake, and horseback riders may use a 14-mile trail through the park. Morrison-Rockwood State Park is located north of Morrison, IL
Nauvoo State Park sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. A house built by Mormons in the 1840s, serves as the Nauvoo State Park Museum. The restored home features a wine cellar, press room, and is the only Nauvoo wine cellar open to the public. This also is the location of Nauvoo's first vineyard. The museum exhibits artifacts from Native American occupation to the introduction of Nauvoo Blue Cheese in the 1930s. Nauvoo State Park has a 13-acre manmade fishing lake, Lake Horton and hiking trails. Nauvoo State Park is located in Nauvoo, IL.
Pere Marquette State Park is a 8,000-acre park, famous for the exceptional beauty of its fall colors and for its bald eagles during the winter. Pere Marquette State Park offers numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, and hunting. The Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail runs from Pere Marquette State Park to the City of Alton, approximately 20 miles. The entire trail is paved. There are 20 miles of equestrian trails, and 12 miles of marked hiking trails. Pere Marquette State Park is located near Grafton, IL.
Pyramid State Recreation Area consists of many lakes, ponds and heavily forested hills. Pyramid State Recreation Area has 19,701 acres, making Pyramid the largest State Recreation Area in Illinois. Most of the lakes can be reached only by foot, which affords an opportunity for the fishemen to get away from crowds. The largest lake in the park is known as "Super Lake". There are 16.5 miles of foot trails, mountain biking trails and and this includes horse riding trails. Pyramid State Recreation Area is located near Pinckneyville, IL
Railsplitter State Park now called the Edward R. Madigan State Fish & Wildlife Area is the home of the largest sycamore tree in Illinois. Railsplitter State Park (Edward R. Madigan State Fish & Wildlife Area) is located along Salt Creek, on the south edge of Lincoln, IL
Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area offers boating, fishing, hunting, hiking trails, and horseback riding trails, on rolling hills, timbered shoreline, and the beautiful Ramsey Lake. Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area was known as "Old Fox Chase Grounds" because of its use by fox and coon hunters. Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area is located one mile northwest of Ramsey, IL
Red Hills State Park located midway between Olney and Lawrenceville, is Red Hills State Park, a preserved and maintained 967-acres of high wooded hills, deep ravines, meadows, year-round springs and a 40-acre lake, that is ideal for fishing and boating. Red Hills State Park has the highest point of land between St. Louis and Cincinnati, and has a 120-foot tower and cross rising from its summit.
Rock Cut State Park is an area of interesting history and recreational variety. Rock Cut State Park has two lakes: Pierce Lake, with 162 acres. and Olson Lake, with 50 acres. The trail system at Rock Cut State Park offers opportunities for hiking (40 miles), mountain biking(23 miles), and equestrian(14 miles). Rock Cut also offers access (at the Pierce Lake spillway) to the Willow Creek Bike Trail and Perryville Path, a paved trail system connecting the local communities of Loves Park and Rockford to Rock Cut State Park. Rock Cut State Park is located in Rockford, IL.
Sam Parr State Park has 1,180 acres including a 183-acre lake. The lake is nestled in a rolling timbered area and has attracted nesting wood ducks. The lake contains largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish and bullhead.Sam Parr State Park is located 3 miles northeast of Newton, IL
Sangchris Lake State Park is where you will find Sangchris Lake, a 3,022 acre lake offering 120 miles of shoreline. Sangchris Lake State Park is a popular outdoor retreat, located just minutes east of Springfield, IL
Siloam Springs State Park has 12 miles of scenic hiking trails that go from valleys to flatlands throughout the park, and equestrian trails totaling 23 miles, covering ridgetops and steep wooded valleys. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, redear green sunfish, carp, crappie, channel catfish and rainbow trout. Springs State Park is located just east of Quincy, IL
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area The Fox River runs through this area which is also home to several small manmade lakes. For the river fisherman, the Fox River provides good bank and boat fishing. There is a scenic four-mile trail that winds along the river, and seven-miles of horseback riding trails. In winter Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area is popular for cross-country skiing, sledding and ice skating.
Spitler Woods State Natural Area is located within the Decatur, Illinois metropolitan area, and adjacent to Mount Zion, Illinois. Spitler Woods contains two trails toaling 2.5 miles.
Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is located 25 miles southwest of Peoria. Spring Lake is a long, narrow lake created by a meander of the Illinois River. The lake covers and area of 1,285 acres, there are five hiking trails within the park. Early residents of the Spring Lake area were mound building Native Americans. Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is located near Manito, IL.
Starved Rock State Park has 2,630 acres, 13 miles of hiking trails, numerous waterfalls (ice falls in winter) and other landforms. The park contains 18 sandstone canyons. Starved Rock itself is a large eroded butte overlooking the Illinois River. French explorers built a fort called Fort St. Louis atop the rock in 1682 but had abandoned it by the early 1700s. Boating and fishing are popular activities in the park. Starved Rock State Park is one of the busiest State Parks in Illinois. Starved Rock State Park is an Illinois state park located in Utica, Illinois
Stephen A Forbes State Park, State Recreation Area 585-acre lake provides ample opportunities to the sport fishermanis. Fishing is also available at Boston Pond, Marlow Pond, and Wilson Pond. 15-mile horse trail circles the lake, and there are four established nature trails for hiking enthusiasts. Sam Parr Biological Stations: In 1966, a building especially designed for use as an aquatic research center was completed below the dam. Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area is located 15 miles northeast of Salem, IL
Walnut Point State Park covers 630 acres. The 59-acre, multi-fingered Walnut Point Lake is the focal point of the park. The park also contains a 65-acre nature preserve. With its woods, water and wildlife, Walnut Point State Park has it all - from fishing, hunting and camping to hiking, and cross-country skiing. Walnut Point State Park is located 3 miles north of Oakland, IL
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park with the 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois biggest outdoor playground by providing ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers, photographers, fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers. Wayne Fitzgerrell is noted for its extensive sporting dog field trial programs. The site annually hosts more than 25 field trialing events, in which some of the best trained beagles, retrievers and bird dogs compete for regional and national honors. Many of the competitions are equestrian trials, with dog handlers and observers following the action from horseback. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, Recreation Area is located 6 miles north of Benton, IL
Weldon Springs State Park is a 550-acre park, lying just southeast of Clinton, IL. Weldon Springs State Park has numerous nature trails, hiking trails and a 29-acre, spring-fed lake with two miles of shoreline.
White Pines Forest State Park This 385-acre park is the south boundary of the old Chicago-Iowa Trail. History tells us that this was for years the principal route east and west across the northern part of the state. Among the parks most interesting features are the concrete fords that span the creeks, allowing the visitor, to drive through the flowing streams.
Wolf Creek State Park encompass 11,100 acres of water, 250 miles of shoreline and large tracts of carefully maintained indigenous woodlands. Wolf Creek State Park is very popular for horseback riding, snowmobiling, boat fishing, water skiing, pontoon boating, and windsurfing. Wolf Creek State Park contains seven hiking trails, 16 1/2-miles of snowmobile trail, and 15-miles og equestrian trail. Wolf Creek State Park is located just minutes from Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Effingham and surrounding communities.
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